Feeding Hope: Janine's Story

Often, a broken leg means a few months in a cast and then back to business. Not for Janine. She lost more than her mobility when an accident crushed her tibial plateau, the top of the shinbone that connects to the knee and thighbone, six years ago. A healthy tibial plateau is critical for weightbearing, stability and motion.

“It really changed my life. I had my own business, and I had a car, and all of that’s gone now because of my disability.”

Janine was greeted with smiles and hugs when she arrived at the East Central Community Center food pantry on a Wednesday morning in December—and not just because she would celebrate her 62nd birthday two days later. Everyone receives a warm welcome as they walk through the bright blue door leading to a small, bustling room reminiscent of a neighborhood market. But in this market, all the food is donated and available to people in need at no cost. Apples, plums, dried beans, whole grain bread and other healthy food items line the shelves, and Janine can choose what she likes and will use.

Janine lives three blocks away from the food pantry, which gets about 95% of its food from Second Harvest. She’s been coming here for the past year and a half to help fill the holes in her meager food budget.

Janine says she would have to skip meals or have much smaller meals without the food pantry.

“It’s been a great help. I’m on disability, so I’m on a very limited income. And I do get food stamps, and they only go so far, so I supplement my meals with the food bank, and it’s just been awesome. It’s really been a lifesaver.”

Between the food she buys using her SNAP benefits and the food she receives from the food pantry, Janine regularly makes healthy, sustaining meals for herself. “I get so much on my food stamps, and then I come here and supplement, so my meals are complete. I get my grains. I get my fruits, fresh fruits, vegetables. I love potatoes. They always have potatoes for me—and onions. It rounds out my whole meal from day to day and through a whole month.”

Having access to healthy food has made a big difference for Janine both physically and mentally after her devastating injury. “When I’m eating right, I feel better. I don’t get down as much. I have things to look forward to. I’m able to plan my breakfast, and my lunch, and my dinner, and my little snacks in between. And it just rounds everything out. And it’s good to go to bed with a full stomach. It’s great. I really appreciate the food bank.”

Want to help people like Janine? Learn more about what you can do to fight hunger.