Monday, 9 May 2016

Food Bank

I am on the ragged edge of financial disaster each and every month. My mortgage, condo fees, taxes and utilities take up almost all of my disability and AISH cheques each month. Without the help of Katherine and others, I would have no food in my cupboards at all, let alone the wine I love to make and drink. The truth is that I run about $500 to $1,000 short each month, depending on expenditures.

In order to make this all work, I depend on Katherine for help, and I have been skipping my condo fee payment since the beginning of this year. This means I now owe $2,500 in overdue condo fees. This ignores completely the money I owe on credit cards. It's a pretty rough ride right now.

Rock bottom is now at hand. Today I met with a social worker regarding resources to help me keep going. It appears that it is now time for me to start using the Food Bank. The objective in this is to make me less dependent on Katherine and others for my food needs. Given my situation, I certainly qualify for access to the Food Bank, but I have to say, it is truly hard on me emotionally to have to make this step.

I spoke with the social worker about how this made me feel. I said I thought I could keep going, depending on the kindness of family and friends. She encouraged me to take advantage of the food bank so that money now spent on food could be directed toward other things, things which would improve my quality of life, things like social activities or wine kits.

I've talked to a lot of social workers and counselors since getting this disease. It is a common theme amongst all of them, that my only real focus should be quality of life. Whatever resources I have, whatever resources I can access, their advice is that my first choice, after mortgage and utilities, should be things which enhance my life, make me want to live.

The food bank is embarrassing. I don't want to go. I don't want to use it. Plus there are very clear limitations. I am allowed a food hamper every 30 days up to 7 times a year. What about the other 5 months? I don't want to go to the food bank; that, in and of itself, will reduce my quality of life, taking valuable time from me, forcing me to get up early and get there early, so I can stand in line for a handout, like a soup kitchen in the Great Depression. Fortunately the social worker can pick my food hamper up for me, given my mobility and health limitations, but only after I apply and am approved as being sufficiently poor.

Oh how the mighty have fallen. All of this is a cruel reality, once again re-inforcing why they call ALS the "bankruptcy disease". I don't want to do this, to go to the food bank. I am compelled to in order to keep living. That's the real problem; I didn't die on schedule. I'm living too long. I know there is a solution to this, but I am not ready to go yet. I have enough quality of life to keep me hanging on, even with this whole food bank thing.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, don't get me started on food banks. If you read one of my reply posts, you'll know what I had to say about people going on food stamps, or EBT cards in America. If you don't have kids under 18, you can't buy soap. You can't buy paper towels, tissues, tampons, toothpaste, toothbrush, saline solution if you wear contacts, laundry detergent, dish soap, a lightbulb or a sponge. Imagine, never being able to buy any of those things. How would you put gas in the car or buy a bus pass to go to a job interview?

    Food banks. Nightmare. Yes, people line up in the back of alleys, waiting for food. There are no signs on the front of the store shops, nobody knows the food bank is in the back alley. But yes, the line still forms.

    I've seen food bank locations not let people inside to sit on the chairs. People in their late 70s are lined up in the cold in the winter and they won't let them in. At the same food bank, a woman who works there took a bag of carrots and send yum and put them in the bottom drawer of the desk she was sitting at.

    At the alley food bank, they do not allow you to choose what you need, they give you a bag of what they choose to give you. There is a row of cereal boxes. Ask why they are not passing those out, and they say there is not enough for everybody. The next time you go there, the cereal boxes are gone.

    The food bank with the carrots – carrots are a once a year thing - passes out two bags of food. They fill one bag with stale bread. Not bread from the greater depository food bank, where they order from, but bread left over from stores in the neighborhood. You see people walking down the street with a big bag, but it's filled with old bread.

    The church food banks pass out spoiled fruit and they have vegetables.

    Yes, you should be spared. People who do not have family are forced to walk up and take whatever food is handed to them.

    People at food banks are not down and out or losers. Many are in trouble from not having family or not finding a new job. Most importantly here, is that you have a lot of family.

    You should never have to worry about groceries.

    I know you probably find it harsh to put it on the family. I do put it on the family. You would never allow them to even consider a food bank, and you're one person. Imagine a pool of people. That's what family is for. It should be easy.