‘When you’re destitute, you’re destitute.’ Food Bank deliveries nourish struggling family of five

October 1, 2021

Even on a beautiful early autumn morning, one where the slight hints of red, orange, and yellow brightened foliage against a cloudless blue sky, Lynnet struggled to hold back the sobs punctuating her conversation.  Despite the glorious weather, she felt nearly hopeless, expressing a sense of overwhelming frustration in the daily search for lifelines and support.

This Middletown-area resident and her family of five rely solely on boxes delivered to their door from the Food Bank of Delaware for their meals. The former Pennsylvania residents are new to the state, and Lynnet finds the obstacles she faces daunting. The family’s only income is from her husband’s Social Security disability check; it covers the rent on their mobile home and maybe some formula for one of the grandchildren. Their daughter lives with them, along with her two young children, age 3 years and 8 months.

Lynnet, who is 52, says she’s unable to work. “I can barely walk. I need a knee replacement, but I don’t have insurance,” she said. She explained her physical limitations followed major surgery on her foot which led to a limp. “I had no insurance so I didn’t qualify for a boot, and when I finally saw a doctor, he said I have advanced arthritis in my hip,” she said.

In addition to trying to get SNAP benefits – Lynnet is waiting for a call from the state, she has reached out to see if the family qualifies for a state weatherization program to upgrade their home. “The windows aren’t even glass or Plexiglass. I don’t know what they are, but we were cold. I don’t know how I can pay for fuel oil for heat,” she added, unable to muffle the sobs that accompany her daily frustrations.

“These calls, I get put on hold for hours. It’s not been easy. We’re being hit every which way, and nobody helps. When you’re destitute, you’re destitute. Those boxes are what we eat, and we’re thankful they come weekly,” she said.

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