John is currently unemployed and is collecting SSI. He, his wife, and two young children came to the Bethesda House food pantry for the first time. John shared that they are new to this process as they have never been in a situation like this before. John said that he recently lost his job from a local fast food restaurant where he worked for the past two years. His wife is employed but her position pays minimum wage. Their household income is at the poverty level and after paying bills there is limited money to buy food.
John sought services at the Department of Social Services, but at the end of the arduous process of completing applications; the family was told that they had to wait at least seventy-two hours before receiving their emergency food stamps. John was told of various food pantries in the area that could assist them. He disclosed that he was not used to going through so many different systems to apply for help and it was embarrassing. He shared that he applied for unemployment insurance benefits but was denied because his former boss challenged his application.
Bethesda House staff was deeply moved to see the positive attitude and togetherness of this family as they move through the various systems to apply for help. As this man stood with his wife and children waiting in line for food, his embarrassment was obvious. John’s main concern was to provide for his family. Bethesda House staff provides John with services as he and his family stabilizes their life.
It is stories like this that keep me motivated to come to work and thank God that we are here to help.