While “Kim” consented to the use of her name for her story, I still feel an overwhelming need to protect her. Kim’s story is brutally honest.
Her running shoes were donated by a manager at the homeless shelter.
“Thank God for Anthony. He handed me them and said, “Here’s a brand new pair of shoes!” They are “going” now- the soles are on their way out. And, I’ve no coat and no boots.”
The shelter records sizes of footwear and coats for those in need. They’re distributing items as they receive donations. If they don’t receive a particular size, say size 13 boots for instance, then the item will be purchased brand new. No one will go without coats or boots this winter.
What is your biggest struggle on a daily basis?
“Having enough food. Both me and my husband have an apartment. There’s no money left over after paying rent. Literally, not enough money to buy anything else. The fridge is empty. I’ve worn the same clothes for five years. It’s very hard. There’s no food at home. Welfare and disability don’t pay enough.”
Tell me about living in poverty.
“It’s hard to get through the day. Every day. I cope by cutting. It’s how I deal with the pain of it all. I couldn’t make it to my Mom’s funeral. I was in jail. Today, all day, I’ve wanted to kill myself. I’m off crack but I can’t see my kids. I’m going to be 40. This has been a very rough day. I’ve stayed in bed most of today. I’ve been clean for 10 years. I’m not a prostitute, not a crack-head. Not anymore. But, I’ve not enough money for even food. I want to cook for people; it’s what I like to do. But, I can’t even do that.”
Kim broke down in tears. I brought her to speak with the shelter’s administrator. The administrator asked Kim if she’d seen another client recently. He was ill and hadn’t been around the shelter for a while. When Kim spoke of wanting to visit him, the administrator offered a bag of groceries from the food bank. The bag included extra pasta and pasta sauce. Kim planned on visiting the client, and making him supper now. We asked her to get back to us to let us know how her visit went with her friend.
Everybody wants to feel needed. Kim left the shelter on a more positive note, groceries filling her arms.