The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

Baltimore

“This is the typical city for you: the hot dogs, snacks, ice creams. I try to give it to them every now and then, to capture the moment. Kids want things. Kids see stuff like this and they want to run over and get snacks and ice creams. But you can’t afford it, because you’re on one income and a budget. I captured that moment, just the typical city neighborhood, and things that are costly for a single parent: ice cream trucks.

“I know the Lord will bless me with a job. It might not be what I want it to be, but it’ll be one. One will come soon enough for me. But, I look every day for a job. I go down to the library, go to the websites, and fill out applications, and just… I hope someone calls me.”

“I bought that juice for my neighbor. The little boy wanted some juice, so I bought him some juice. This lady, she receives food stamps every month. And I asked her why she didn’t wash the refrigerator and she said, because she didn’t have any dish detergent… I’m not here to judge. Maybe she really is struggling and what she’s receiving is not enough and it’s just snowballed… the snowball effect, basically.

“It’s not where you live, it’s how you live. Yeah, you could take like, little chairs and make it homey, make it your own. Not that my neighborhood is so great, it’s a trip around here at night. But the point is that you can take little things and make them better. And that’s how I know God is going to answer my prayers as far as my Section 8 and all of that stuff with the kids, because I’m doing the best I can with what I have.”

“When I drove past this liquor store, I was thinking about that new Florida law, where you have to get a drug test before you can get social services, because alcohol is also a drug. It also made me think of people who go to jail because of their drug-related crimes and then have a lot of roadblocks when they come out of jail. Society expects people who get out of jail to become productive members of society.

“The cashier made me feel so bad about myself for using WIC. As soon as I got in her line she saw my WIC folder, she puckered her lips because she doesn’t like messing with the WIC. She made me feel like I was doing something wrong. Like ‘you shouldn’t be getting this assistance, you should be paying for this.’ I just felt really uncomfortable. And then people are getting in line and the line’s getting longer, so you’re feeling like you’re holding up the line. I started getting embarrassed about it.

“I ate really healthy when I was pregnant with her, with the help of WIC. I think there was a difference in her health because of the nutrition that I had gotten with her. I had poor health with my older children because of the unhealthy food I at during my pregnancy, and it made a difference. WIC made a difference. Receiving WIC for the first year of her life helped her to be a healthy baby who has a good immune system and great developmental skills.”

“My husband and I are overweight due to unhealthy food. His cholesterol’s high, but it’s hard to buy healthy food. Unhealthy food is less expensive but I feel like in the long run it will cause more medical problems, which in turn will cause expensive bills from health providers. We make too much to get free lunch for our children. Sometimes it can be a struggle to make sure the older children are eating healthy. I’m thankful to Baltimore City Schools for providing free breakfast to our children.”

“My favorite saying is ‘don’t give up five minutes before the miracle’... Don’t give up cause when life is on your shoulders and has you weighing down and like you just feel like giving up. You really do, but you just keep on going... [After graduating,] I now work in one of the units in the hospital. And I like it so much better there. You learn so much because you’re around the doctors and the nurses and taking care of the patient when they’re in the hospital. I like going to work now.

“When it’s the end of the month, we just eat noodles, hot dogs, noodles, hot dogs, noodles, hot dogs. Hot dogs are like a dollar. Noodles are four for a dollar. It’s not the healthiest meal.”

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