Anyone who’s been to London or watches enough BBC America, knows the phrase Mind the Gap. The expression is a warning to keep an eye out and don’t slip between the train and the platform, that gap can be very dangerous. But I am thinking of another dangerous gap, the one between adequate groceries and food insecurity and a different sense of the word mind, not look out for, but be upset by this gap.
We should mind the gap, mind that there is a gap for many between having enough and not nearly having enough. There should be a bit of indignation in our voices when we say that there are hungry people in this country of plenty an right here in our own community. Summer is a time of particular need. Kids are out of school, kids who would normally be receiving lunch provided for free and a take home supper are home during the summer months in households that struggle to bridge the divide of their ‘grocery gap’. In an early BLOG I wrote, I outlined the problem in detail; so, I will spare you more on that here. Instead, let me tell you about one our neighbors, Trina…
Trina has two kids, they are 6 and 12 years old, a boy and a girl. She works part-time at Walmart and her husband works in a shop. As a family of 4, with a combined income of less than $35,000, they are well below the 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines and therefore are eligible for some assistance. In fact, they receive food stamps each month on a Bridge Card and the kids receive free meals during the school year. Most of the year, they do just fine with a little bit of help, but every summer they struggle. Like many of us, they are proud and don’t like to admit they need the help. For the 3 months of summer though, they have no choice but to come to The Pantry for help. During the 11 weeks the kids are out of school, without free lunches and sack suppers they spend $50.00 more each week to make up those meals. They must spend $550.00 during this time to bridge the gap. Can you imagine! That’s nearly a full week worth of wages for this family. Trina told me:
During the summertime we sometimes have to make hard choices. When there isn’t enough to buy groceries and pay the gas bill, some years we’ve skip paying the gas bill to buy groceries. We can’t let the kids go hungry! But, most of the time, my husband and I just skip a meal or we buy less of the expensive stuff like milk and meat. We don’t have money for kids to do activities during the summer because we have to make sure we have food first. The Pantry is a lifesaver! I can bring the kids here for the (Meet Up & Eat Up) lunch whenever I have gas money and the cart of groceries we get here helps us make it until the next paycheck or when the Bridge Card gets refilled.
The Pantry’s Meet Up & Eat Up and standard food pantry service, bridge the gap for Trina and her family. You make it possible! Your mindfulness of the gap, help Trina and her husband feed their family during these months. I mind that there is a grocery gap for low-income families. I mind that people living paycheck to paycheck already have to spend a full week’s wages more each summer to feed their kids AND I believe that you mind this gap too. Mind the Gap with us Donate today!