Feeding Hope: Renee's Story

Seventy-three-year-old Renee was first in line at the Deer Park Mobile Market. That means she was first to get a taste of the fruit salad Second Harvest’s nutrition educators were sampling. “That is delicious,” she said, after finishing the last bite of watermelon—just one of the produce items she’d be receiving at the distribution that day.

Renee was very grateful that she’d be getting some fresh fruit, which she typically doesn’t buy at the store. “There’s no way I could financially afford that,” she said. She goes to Mobile Markets and her local food bank to get fresh produce.

Like many seniors, Renee is on a fixed income, and her budget is tight. She says she’s left with $12 at the end of the month after budgeting for her basic needs.  She also has a rare form of intestinal cancer, which taxes her budget further. In addition to expensive medical bills and copays, she also has to eat every two hours to keep excruciating stomach pain and digestive issues at bay.

“My top priority is making sure I have a variety of foods,” she said. She described the “tunnel vision” she gets when shopping for food at the store—only looking at foods she knows she can afford. “With the food bank, I’m able to eat foods that are outside that strict financial criteria.”

The Mobile Market not only ensures Renee has a variety of healthy foods to eat, but it also gives her peace of mind. “There’s that sense of security. When I open up the cupboard… It alleviates that stress factor for me of how I’m going to put food on the table,” she said.

“I’ve worked since I was 12 years old, and I’ve never taken unemployment. I’ve always worked, sometimes two or three jobs,” she said, tears beginning to fill her eyes. “It’s a real blessing to be able to have that stress removed. I totally appreciate what you guys do. It’s amazing.”