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Food and stuff

Today I walked into a food bank for the first time.

It's taken me three months of homelessness to reach this point. SSI is a little over $700/month, food stamps are $116, and so long as my only purchases are gas, food, and the barest of necessities it's doable. Unfortunately three months straight of vehicle breakdowns left me short, and it wasn't long before the credit card maxed out, too.

Friends helped. Going out on dates helped - often my only "real" meal of the day. But a new friend I was falling for got re-stationed across the country, and in his absence I'm no longer in the mood to flirt around for the perks.

I've been stewing over the issue a while, now. Some days I've opted to pay for a good meal and then fast most of the next day, rather than feed my body crappy food that'll make me sick. Other days I just, well, eat crappy food that makes me sick. At least I don't eat much that way. Finally this week I took a good hard look at what was happening and decided something has to give.

When I saw the one brand of gluten-free bread I can eat sitting the shelf I knew I'd be returning. I came away with bread, partially moldy organic strawberries, a can of organic beans I'll eat cold, and a box of raisins. I'm allowed to collect food there once a week.

They nearly didn't let me in. They wanted proof that I lived in the area, and of course I'm living in a van so they were skeptical. I'd like to think my obvious exhaustion and the bleak look in my eyes convinced them. I was so not up to advocating for myself today. I was just hungry.

Predictably, most of the items offered were stuff I couldn't eat, but I found enough to keep from starving. Really, that's what the food bank there for, and that's how I'll use it.

Meat is still a problem to be solved - everything the food bank had was uncooked. I'm going to try to work up the courage to call the health food store again tomorrow. Did you know a lot of places 'round here lock up their dumpsters? Not just with a lock and key, no, they build entire enclosements and lock THOSE up so no one can get anywhere near the good food they're throwing away. There are two different deli foods from a health food store I know I can eat - salmon sushi and roast turkey - and I know they're "made fresh daily". I know they throw out the leftovers. I called about it once, asked if I could have what they were throwing out a the end of the day, but the person to talk to wasn't in the office that day.

The answer would "probably be no" she had said, because of liability and health risk concerns.

I didn't tell her I'd already got sick twice from food poisoning when I attempted to make meat last longer than it should. Eating end-of-the-day sushi is nothing.

But I have meat for today. Perhaps tomorrow I'll manage to make the call. I got a surprise $10 voucher in the mail to a cafe that has fries I know I can eat, and there's only 10 days left in the month before the next SSI gets through.

It's scrappy, but I'm making it.
Likes: Snez

Comments

@dainty Could this link be helpful? https://foodlifeline.org/need-food I looked at your avatar and not sure if you are still in WA state but if so, I found this and it looks like they have a variety of options to get food. If not helpful, please disregard. I enjoy your blog and the effort it takes to write it. I am so sorry about your situation and hoping you get some good quality food that you deserve.
 
Hoping the health food store comes through for you. I am shocked that these stores are locking up their dumpsters. Do they think that by allowing people to forage through their leftovers they will somehow erode their profits? Or that these people will actually sue them if they get sick? Best wishes Dainty. I am thinking of you.
 
You are on my mind and heart even though I am fairly inactive on this forum. HUGS!
 

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Dainty
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