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Charlie's Story: Skipping Meals to Afford Heating

At 69, Charlie is high-spirited in spite of a multitude of physical ailments. Charlie lives in an assisted living facility near the Castro and really appreciates the monthly box of food he receives from the Food Bank through a government program called CSFP.

We met Charlie as he waited in his lobby for the food distribution to start. He smiled and waved us over to talk. “This is my car,” he said, rapping on his mechanized wheelchair. “I use it to get up to church, go to FoodsCo and make all my doctors’ appointments.” 

Keeping a close watch on his diet, funds
Charlie is diabetic and watches his diet carefully. He stocks up on fresh vegetables and other groceries at the beginning of the month.

“You see, I know just how far my check is going to go every month,” he said. “So I go ahead and take care of the groceries first. I get my meats and put them in the freezer. I get pasta and I get canned tomatoes, carrots, red peppers for sauce. And I build up a stock.” 
Tough choices: food, medicine or heat  
“But sometimes it doesn’t get me to the end of the month,” Charlie continued. “I might have an extra prescription I need. Or maybe I have to turn the heat on. Sometimes I run out of food and I’ll just have to do without breakfast and lunch for a few days.”
Referring to his senior food box, he says, “That box is a real life-saver. And then there’s always extra vegetables they give with it, too. That really helps.”
Learn more about how we support seniors like Charlie with our Commodity Supplemental Food Program.