Miyuki’s Story | Food is Life

July 24, 2018

If you’re going on appearances alone, then there is little way that you would know all the hardships Miyuki and her family have experienced in recent years.  The smiling, bespectacled woman was busy picking up a week’s worth of groceries at the Food Bank’s Health Children pantry at Bessie Carmichael Elementary School in the South of Market neighborhood when she recalled the past seven years of her life.

Her troubles really started in March of 2011 when a 9.1 earthquake, and resulting tsunami, caused widespread damage in her home country of Japan, including the failure of the nearby Fukushima nuclear power plant.  Eventually, four of Miyuki’s friends would die of cancer in their 30’s – she believes they all are related to the radiation.  In an effort to protect her infant daughter, Miyuki and her husband fled to the United States.


They settled in Oakland, but soon after, they lost everything when their apartment building burned to the ground.  Homeless, and staying with various friends for about two years, fate finally smiled on Miyuki’s family in the form of an affordable housing unit that opened up in San Francisco.

It is here where they are starting fresh, but times are still tough. Miyuki’s husband works construction, and she picks up freelance work, but mostly she cares for her daughter. “We can’t afford babysitters, and it’s my job as her mother to take care of my daughter.”


She says the food pantry at her daughter’s school helps her so much. “We’re broke, so I cook whatever I get and use everything,” she says.

Miyuki recently made oat bar snacks for her daughter’s classroom, using mostly items that she picked up at the pantry.  “The kids loved them – they grabbed me and asked, ‘how did you make that?’ It made me happy. I see a lot of families at the school struggling to eat healthy food which is why it’s great that the pantry has so many fruits and vegetables.  Food is life.”


What most inspires her is to see the other families in line who are also struggling, but doing what they can to make sure their children are well-nourished.

“The world is a mess right now. But it doesn’t matter where you live, you have to live your life right now and appreciate what you have and remain positive. The Food Pantry is a really positive place, and I hope people keep donating to feed people like us. I appreciate it so much, and it brings so much happiness to low-income families – particularly the kids.”

If you wish to help families like Miyuki’s please consider a donation to the Food Bank today.