Day 6: Jeanette's Story

Posted by Melissa Mott on Oct 23, 2015 9:42:00 AM

38% of all mothers living in Atlantic County are living below the poverty line. But Jeanette is more than just another statistic—she’s a hard-working, full-time employee, super mom. After divorcing from her husband within the last couple of years, she has been struggling to maintain her independence which makes it hard for her to provide for her four children.

Jeanette Community FoodBank of NJJeanette talked about her job as an Executive Assistant where she works a minimum of 40 hours a week, but sometimes even more than that. “My salary just doesn’t seem to be enough. The reality of it is, after rent, utilities, medical, taxes, [and] childcare, I am out of money.”

Then, Jeanette made the most heartbreaking statement: “I am a single, working mom of four children, and I cannot feed my children. My check only goes so far.”

She stopped by the food pantry that day with her four-year-old fraternal twin sons but also has two daughters, ages 14 and 17. After picking up the boys from daycare, she stopped at the food pantry so she could grab enough food to be able to make dinner that night.

However, no matter how tough things get, Jeanette tries to stay upbeat. “In the future, I don’t expect to be where I am now financially. It is just getting from here to there that I need this help to make things happen.”

When asked about how she ended up at the food pantry, she replied, “I didn’t know where to turn. I didn’t know what to do. I actually got the information about the pantry because I was at work crying.” She didn’t know how she could continue to feed, clothe, and take care of her four children after spending the bulk of her paycheck on other daily necessities.

“In my head, I just couldn’t put two and two together. My co-worker came up to me and said ‘I know someone who works at the Food Pantry.’ That is how I got started.”

When asked how coming to the food pantry helps, she responded, “Without this, I would be a mess. This helps immensely. I make it stretch.”

Stretching every bit of food and every dollar is something she knows well, explaining, “I have growing kids who need clothes, who need shoes. Five dollars to somebody might not be a big thing but to me it is a big thing. I can buy two outfits at the consignment shop for my boys.” By saving just $5 more dollars each week or each month, Jeanette can spend that money on her children by providing them with new clothes and toys and other things that every child should have.

She has message for each and every person who donates to the Community FoodBank:

"Thank you. You are about to make a difference in my life and in my children’s lives. You don’t know what this is like for me. Coming here is like gold. This is precious. It sustains my life. It makes me a healthier parent because it is less stress for me. I appreciate your help so very much because without it, my kids and I would be lost. My kids would be hungry. And I would be hungry. There are plenty of times I go to bed hungry, but I make sure that my children have what they need. So thank you.”

As a client of the Community Assistance Pantry, Jeanette and her family are able to receive groceries for free at a local food pantry supplied by the Community FoodBank of NJ on a weekly basis to help them save up for other things, like clothing.

Donating just 1 box of food can help feed an entire family dinner and donating only $1 can help provide between $8-11 worth of food for a family. Help us help others.

Community Food Drive at Kensington Furniture

Topics: Community Food Drive