Front Burner Blog

Elizabeth Starts Her Day at 5:30am

Stories are powerful ways to see the impact of your actions. As a part of our 2014 Accountability Report we wanted you to see the impact your support makes for people across Western Washington. Here is the first of those stories - a profile about how Elizabeth keeps her family happy and healthy with help from food banks.

She prepares breakfast for her three children and gets them dressed, sending the two oldest off to school before dropping her youngest at daycare. That’s before she begins her 90-minute commute to work, followed by an eight hour workday, and another long commute home. Elizabeth works full-time as a legal secretary, and as hard as it is to believe, she still struggles to feed her young family.

“I make $2,000 a month, but rent takes half of that, then after childcare and utilities there isn’t much left,” she says.

Elizabeth and her family receive $23 in food stamps each month. Not nearly enough to keep food on the table for her growing children.

“I really rely on food banks. Without their help, we wouldn’t make it.”

It’s hard to imagine working full time and still not having enough to eat, but it happens to thousands of Western Washington families every day. Families that face tough decisions like whether to pay a utility bill or buy groceries.

“We see this all the time,” says Kristina Dahl of the White Center Food Bank. “People like Elizabeth work as hard as they can and just can’t keep up.”

Food Lifeline supplies the White Center Food Bank by rescuing food from a network of growers, manufacturers, and retailers. Simply put, we find homes for food in need.

Tonight Elizabeth’s putting a casserole in the oven while going over 12 year-old Samantha’s homework, stopping only momentarily to chide her middle child Sam for taunting 3 year-old Ethan. It’s not always easy, but Elizabeth sits down to dinner with her children every night. “It’s often controlled chaos, but it’s time we spend together and my children get to learn the value of a warm meal.”

Elizabeth hopes her hard work will pay off with better opportunities and higher wages, but until then she’s grateful for the helping hand she receives from Food Lifeline and her local food bank.

“They are so important to my family right now. I’m a positive person and I know things will get better, but for now the help is a true blessing.”

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