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Hunger Stories

Elizabeth, Staten Island soup kitchen and food pantry guest

Elizabeth Huger Story (2)“When Hurricane Sandy came there was water everywhere. I don’t have a car, so the police helped me get out of my house. I had to leave everything behind. It was almost four days before I could come back. I didn’t have any food, so I went to Project Hospitality looking for something to eat. So many people came through there. I was able to get a meal and also some food to take home. I’m thankful for that. We need to have more places where you can get food in an emergency. This hurricane caused so much disaster and I still worry every day. It’s not easy. But I’m OK, thank God.”

We met Elizabeth at Project Hospitality on Staten Island, a Food Bank For New York City network member

Photo Credit: Melanie Dunea


James, food pantry guest

James, food pantry guest"I work professionally as a seasonal tax preparer. I've also volunteered with the Food Bank to help people with their taxes. Because of that I got on the Food Bank's email list, and that's how I heard about the food pantry. Even now that I finally found work outside of tax season, it's still hard to afford food.

"I like that you get to choose what you want here. There are so many options. I’m not a great cook, so I like the canned goods and the dry grains. They last a long time and are pretty easy to prepare. Sometimes I bring some of the food to my mom and sisters. They’re much better cooks than I am, and they really like the fresh produce.

"I live twenty blocks away — I've lived here my whole life. It's a bit of a trip to come here but it's worth it. I've been coming for several months and I get meals at the soup kitchen upstairs sometimes too.

"I am very grateful that this resource is available and still open. It isn't a hassle to get help, and that's nice. I'm thankful and appreciative that our community has it."

Darryl, Manhattan soup kitchen guest

Darryl - Hunger Story photo

Photo by Mariette Pathy Allen

"I don't work because I can't. I’ve been battling kidney cancer for years and I’ll be honest, it doesn’t look good. I try to just get by and live each day to its fullest. My kids help me out. They look out for me and keep me motivated.

"I have four children — two girls and two boys. It's tough being a father. Kids need things and have to be provided for, and it’s hard when sometimes you don’t have any money. With the economy and my sickness, it's tough to keep up.

"The Community Kitchen is a real help. Lots of times your pride can get in the way of getting something to eat. People say, ‘I don’t want to stand on line to get food.’ But when the stomach is hungry, you got to eat. My first time I was like, 'This is what it's like, this is what you have to do.' Now I really enjoy it. It's truly a blessing.

“I often eat here and go to the food pantry at the same time. The way it’s set up, it feels like shopping at a supermarket. That makes you feel really good. They keep you in good spirits around here. It's a place of hospitality and friendship."

We met Darryl at the Food Bank’s Community Kitchen & Food Pantry in West Harlem.

"This is the first food pantry I've ever come to. I lost my job about a year ago. I've been able to find occasional work, but I've been basically unemployed ever since."
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“We worked our whole lives and happily retired when we were ready and able — that was 20 years ago. My wife passed away several years ago. I'm a widow and take care of myself. “
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"John, along with his mother and younger brother, were victims of mental, emotional and physical abuse. Fortunately, they found the courage to leave and come here.”
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"My sister and I both get food stamps, and she gets some WIC [Women, Infants and Children], but it's still hard to keep the fridge full by the end of the month.”
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"After I retired, I moved my father here from Puerto Rico to live with me. I do everything I can for him, but it's not easy.”
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“I'm not on public assistance any more, thank god, but it's still a struggle. I work for a health care agency, but it's not enough. And I'm getting too old to work.”
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