A large pile of fresh vegitables on a cutting board.

The Pantry Blog

Asking for Help When you are Raised Not To

Sep 23, 2016 By
Born in China, Li Min has lived in the US for 10 years. Her husband is an American. They have 3 beautiful children. They met while he was in China setting up contracts for the manufacture he used to work for. She works part-time for a local non-profit and does some medical translation work. Her husband is on disability after an auto accident. They receive some help by way of food stamps (SNAP), but have a hard time making ends meet. She was not accustomed to asking for help. In fact, she was raised to be very independent. In the past though, when she has had extra translation work around the holidays (seasonal work only) and made a little extra money, DHS has cut their food stamps to nothing and it has taken months to get them reestablished. Having to ask for help is hard.

For entertainment Li Minn takes the kids to the library and they participate in Girl and Boy Scouts, which are low cost activities. There isn’t any extra at the end of the month. Nothing left for swimming lessons or Tae Kwon Do, but that doesn’t stop the kids from asking. Everyone makes sacrifices and they make ends meet. They live in Kentwood and their monthly rent is high, very high, but they can’t move because they don’t ever get past the application process when looking for more affordable housing. Their income is just too unstable for many landlords to take a chance on them.
Li Min comes to The Pantry when it gets bad, like when her mother-in-law came to stay with them while recuperating from surgery. Additional time spent in care giving and the costs of care for another human being add up. When Li Min visits us she is always very talkative and has hugs for everyone. Today when she was in she offered help to an older couple that only spoke Chinese. She told them about our new partnership with Meals on Wheels to offer a monthly Senior Pantry here, the first distribution is next Thursday. After she finished her own shopping and put her things in the car, she came back and helped neighbors bag up their groceries. She didn’t stay long, she had to go relieve the visiting nurse that was with her husband.
Li Min is a lot like others here at The Pantry: hard working, friendly and resourceful. But as we know, occasionally, everyone needs a hand. We are here to help when people are down on their luck, but we need your help to meet folks’ emergency needs.

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