Deborah Brooks works the night shift at a housing nonprofit for the homeless. At the end of the month, she finds she runs out of money and could use a little help herself.
“We get plenty of good food from the Food Bank. I can hardly carry it – it’s two bags full,” said Deborah Brooks, a pantry participant at Bethel AME Church.
Brooks helps the homeless by working as a night desk clerk for a permanent housing nonprofit. She works the overnight shift, from midnight to 8 a.m., answering the phones and letting residents in the building. “I like helping other people. It’s rewarding to me. I don’t get paid a great deal, but I’m glad to be working,” Brooks said.
But by the end of the month, she could use a little help herself. Much needed and long overdue dental work has been straining an already tight budget. By the time the bills are paid, Brooks finds that she runs out of food and money.
“Most of my paycheck goes to the dentist, to pay the rent, the lights and gas and the telephone,” Brooks says.
Making ends meet
Before she began coming to the food pantry, the nonprofit worker would “just wait” until the next paycheck to buy food and subsisted on staples like rice and beans.
Now she supplements her groceries with chicken, eggs, fruit cocktail, carrots, strawberries, blackberries, lettuce, pasta, rice and cereal from the Food Bank. The food is fresh and the nutritional benefits are undeniable, according to Brooks. “This gives me a little more variety and flexibility with food,” Brooks said. “Thank goodness for the Food Bank.”