Asking for help has never been my forte. I would much rather do something myself than ask someone. What pushed me into action was the fact that my daughter was going to sleep hungry and then waking up to no food for breakfast. I had to get past the embarrassment and humiliation I felt for not being able to provide for myself and my daughter to seek the services I desperately needed.
Which is something I think the government counts on. It’s a fact that people with low self-esteem are less likely to ask for help than those with a healthy regard for themselves. Society teaches us to be proud of our accomplishments, but rarely does it teach us how to be humble and simply ask for help.
I’ve been a single parent since 2006 and have had the occasional struggle for basic needs over the years. Although I’ve yet to go to a soup kitchen for a hot meal, I am aware of and have tried most of the low-income food sources such as Quest, the Vancouver Foodbank and the food co-op through Partners in Hope (which is no longer in existence).
In November, I signed up for the Britannia Bulk-Buy, which is a food co-op that, for $13/month, will provide you with 2 cloth bags’ worth of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Last Friday, I was finally able to take advantage of this cheap option and we’ve had several yummy meals as a result.
Today, I had an appointment at the Salvation Army to receive an emergency food hamper. I had no idea what to expect, but knew it was a good place when I walked in and, in the corner of the room, there was a tall shelf half full of loaves of fresh, whole wheat bread. During the 10-minutes I had to wait before my appointment, several families of varying ethnicity, age and ability came in and picked up one or two loaves.
Half an hour later, I left with a large backpack full of food and a plastic bag full of toiletries and bread. I’d estimate it’s about $50 worth and will last us a few weeks. My daughter and I went to sleep that night with full, happy tummies, secure with the knowledge that, when we woke up, there would still be food to eat.
What has your experience been with getting food for your family? What services have you tried?