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"It’s a relief, that’s what it is."

Food has always provided a way for Francisco Nieves to connect with others, even when he was experiencing homelessness. Francisco would gather ingredients from The Simple Way food pantry, a Philabundance partner agency, so he could secure himself a place to stay and offer home-cooked meals to his hosts in return.

 

The Simple Way, in Kensington, offers neighbors in need their choice of food from Philabundance, including produce, meat and bread. No longer experiencing homelessness, Francisco says that food from the pantry still goes a long way; the roughly $100 he receives each month in SNAP (food stamps) only helps feed him for a week, or a week and a half if he’s very cautious.

 

Food from The Simple Way allows Francisco to exercise his passion for cooking, making warm meals for himself, friends and family, or anyone else in need. The Simple Way’s weekly food distributions also helped earlier this year, when Francisco was living with family and helping his nephew raise eight foster children.

 

Francisco is grateful for those who donate to the pantry and hopes they’ll continue, because hunger is rising in the neighborhood. He says The Simple Way needs more to fill its shelves than it currently receives.

 

Francisco dealt with hunger as a child and as an adult. He knows what he’d say to anyone experiencing the same challenges he has faced.

 

“I would help them out. I would tell them, ‘Don’t think of it as a dark day. Think of it as a bright day,’ he says. “If you think of it as a dark day, you always stay in the darkness, but if you think of it as the light, you can find it.”

 

“I would help them out. I would tell them, ‘Don’t think of it as a dark day. Think of it as a bright day,’ he says. “If you think of it as a dark day, you always stay in the darkness, but if you think of it as the light, you can find it.”

 

 

For Francisco, light comes these days from making his nephew’s kids smile; although he no longer lives with them, he has remained part of their lives. And like many parental figures, Francisco makes sure to record happy moments on video, like his grand-nephew’s third birthday.

 

“He did not know we were singing [Happy Birthday] to him, but you see his smile go zing, twinkle-twinkle,” Francisco says. “I love that look on children’s faces. That look of enlightenment and excitement all at once, it’s priceless.”

 

 

Francisco has always felt driven to make others’ lives better, whether he’s helping children or adults. He appreciates pantries like The Simple Way because they improve the lives of people in need.

 

“It’s a relief, it relieves people from what their problems are,” he says. “One person is worried about what they’re going to eat that day, and here comes Simple Way with the food. It’s a relief, that’s what it is.”

 

 

Support clients like Francisco by donating today.

 

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