47 year-old Annette Grant immigrated to the US from Jamaica nearly 20 years ago in hopes of building a better life for her family. Once she settled in the US, she was able to send her daughters to college and even attend school herself, becoming a Licensed Practical Nurse. Annette’s hard work was finally paying off, enabling her to purchase her first home in Upper Darby.
Then the recession hit and things got tough for Annette and thousands of others. An inconsistency in available hours at work no longer guaranteed Annette a steady pay check. Some weeks she gets full-time hours and other weeks, she gets much less than that. The inconsistent hours often result in less income to cover basic necessities, like food and household expenses.
Countless bills and a mortgage on her home make it nearly impossible for the single mother caring for two to afford basic necessities. After reaching a breaking point, Annette applied for government assistance but was denied eligibility because she earns too much.
“They see that I pay on time but they don’t know what I have to do stay on payments. And if I miss a payment, I still lose. You can’t win.”
Annette has learned to make the little food she can afford stretch, even if it means skipping meals so her children can eat. To make matters worse, Annette battles with diabetes which makes her malnourished diet a high health risk factor. Annette’s diabetes calls for regular shots of insulin but since she can’t afford health insurance, she just doesn’t take her insulin regularly.
“The realization that you don’t have enough food creeps up on you and that’s when I need to shake it off,” says Annette. “My faith keeps me strong.”.
A few months ago, Annette drove past a long line in her neighborhood. She inquired and learned that the line was for free fresh produce through Philabundance’s Fresh For All program.
Annette knew she had to take advantage of the opportunity.
“At first my pride took a lot out of me but then, I realized, I have to do this. I have to do this for my children and myself.”
Today, Annette is very gracious for Philabundance’s Fresh For All program, claiming she doesn’t know how she’d get fresh fruits and veggies into her home without it. She encourages more families who need food to ask for help.
“It’s tough out here for everyone these days so if you need the help, put your pride aside and get help.”
Annette hopes to take advantage of Philabundance’s Fresh For All program until she’s able to pick-up full-time work again.
Watch video of Annette’s story from 6abc, here.