Poverty takes many forms.
It can mean living in your car or in a shelter or on the street, everything you own in a backpack. It can be a paycheck that is not enough to cover your basic needs. It can be a disability check or a Social Security check or SNAP benefits that run out before the end of the month. It can mean watching your savings dwindle because you have medical bills and no health insurance. It can mean choosing between turning on the heat and filling a prescription.
Mitchell Spargo is a volunteer with Eugene Catholic Worker, one of 150 partner agencies in Lane County that partner with FOOD for Lane County to distribute food. Eugene Catholic Worker volunteers provide meals, short-term housing and other vital support for Eugene’s poor.
“Food and housing is an issue everybody has to deal with,” said Mitchell. “Everybody has to eat. Everybody needs a safe place to sleep. We feed 3,000 people a month. All of our food comes from FOOD for Lane County or private donations. A thousand pounds a week. It’s the only way we can make this happen. If we had to go out and purchase these things ourselves, none of these programs would ever work.”
More than 1 in 3 (37%) Lane County residents cannot afford basic needs. Food boxes help. We surveyed food box recipients — 73% told us that when they add the food they get from the pantry to their other food supplies, they are able to meet their food needs for the month. Another 57% percent were able to prepare healthier meals. Fourteen percent said that a food box made it possible for them to pay for medication, 33% were able to pay utility bills and 28% were able to pay their rent or mortgage.
Homebound, unhoused, working, retired, disabled, single adults, families with children — whoever you are, whatever your reason for needing help, we want to be there. We rely on your generous and continued support to ensure that we are. You can help.
by Denise Wendt
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