Feeding Hope: Roger's Story

Roger enjoyed his wife’s delicious meals throughout their 63-year marriage. But when she became ill and could no longer cook, Roger had to learn for himself.

At 86 years old and with his wife now gone, Roger is the cook in the house. He makes meals for himself and his son, who lives with him.  Roger still feels somewhat new to cooking and sticks to basic recipes, along with some of his favorite meals his wife used to make, such as chicken vegetable soup and beef taco casserole.

But one day, while volunteering at the Veterans Administration, he heard some of his fellow veterans talking about free cooking classes at Second Harvest. He decided to give it a try—and he’s quickly becoming a regular.

During The Kitchen’s Community Classes, Roger has learned how to cook with a greater variety of vegetables, how to incorporate ingredients like quinoa and other grains into his meals, and how to use spices to add more flavor to his dishes. With this new knowledge, he’s getting “beyond basic stuff” in his cooking.

Roger’s meals might be getting a bit “fancier,” but he’s still learning how to make them with simple ingredients that fall within his modest budget. When his wife died, he suddenly had only one income to pay for all the same expenses. As the youngest of eight, Roger knows how to stretch his money, but it’s still hard during the winter when heating bills are high and when unexpected expenses, such as a broken sprinkler, come up.

“I think the classes are a tremendous asset for anybody who’s of moderate means. I’m not destitute. It’s just a matter of watching the pennies—stretching,” he said.

During his time volunteering at the VA and his church, Roger has seen that there are many others that struggle more than he does to afford healthy food—and it breaks his heart. “I think it’s a privilege living in this country. With all we have, we shouldn’t have hungry people.”

If you share Roger's belief that no one should go hungry, learn how you can help end hunger in your community.