A former telephone switchboard operator from Silver Spring, Cheryl worked all of her life. Then an illness forced her into early retirement.
“I always worked so I never thought I would have to go to a food bank,” she says. “And then I did.”
Seniors in our region face some of the highest rates of food insecurity in the country. For Cheryl and too many others, that can mean tough choices between paying for necessary medications or nutritious food.
“Am I going to let my blood pressure go through the sky and have a stroke or am I going to get the medication?” Cheryl asks. “I got to get the medication and try to go to the food bank and get food.”
That’s why our programs for seniors are so vital. Each month, the food bank reaches more than 10,000 seniors like Cheryl through our Groceries Plus, My Groceries to Go and Senior Brown Bag programs. The groceries delivered each month help ensure Cheryl doesn’t have to choose between necessities like food and medicine.
“Without the support of the food bank? I mean, come on, I don’t know what I’d do,” Cheryl says. “That’s how much a part of my life it is. … I don’t know what I would do without it.”
Seniors living on a fixed income can face tight food budgets, as well as the potential stigma of needing to seek food assistance. But Cheryl says those facing hunger shouldn’t feel ashamed.
“It’s not a shame. It’s not shame to be hungry,” she says. “It’s a shame when you don’t do anything about it.”
Cheryl’s story was part of the food bank’s “Hunger is Here” public service announcement campaign. Through video, print and digital ads, the campaign highlights the experiences of our neighbors facing food insecurity. Learn more by going to HungerIsHere.org.