What brought you to Lucy and Joe’s Food Pantry at Jewish Family
Service of Metrowest (JFS)?
Things at home are bad. My husband has an addiction problem. I’m the main provider for my three children, who like most growing kids, are eating me out of house and home! I was hesitant to ask for help. But I realized that I needed to swallow my pride so that my kids could eat nutritious foods. I didn’t want to go to my local food pantry because I didn’t want to see people I know.
Did you ever think that you would need help from a food pantry?
No, I never imagined myself at a food pantry. When the kids were younger, money was not as tight. Today, my income is very low and I’m not comfortable asking family for help. Between the high cost of gas, my cholesterol medicine and my daughter’s medications, there’s not always enough left over for food.
What was your experience like at JFS?
The people at JFS are wonderful and non-judgmental. They’ve helped me through very hard times in so many ways, including help finding employment.
Why is it important for the Jewish community to support programs like
the food pantry?
Even though people may look a certain way or carry themselves a certain way, you never really know what’s going on in the home. Addiction, violence, economic problems, a change in family status, illness – all of these cause people to need help. And from the outside, you may never know it’s happening to a family. For me, I was embarrassed to go to the food pantry in my town where I know people. But I was comfortable going to JFS. I think many people feel the same way.
After a lifetime of hard work and independence, Mr. and Mrs. Harvey found themselves unable to work due to severe health problems while only in their early 60s. Debt quickly started piling up as they tried to get by until the day they would be able to work again.
When the couple first came to JF&CS Family Table, they were overwhelmed with bills, housing costs and medical payments. Family Table connected them to the Center for Family Assistance and Bet Tzedek Legal Services at JF&CS. With this help, the Harveys were able to access public benefits to help them stay afloat. They also received help obtaining adequate health insurance, consolidating their debt and finding more affordable housing.
The last time the Harveys visited Family Table, they shared their appreciation for everything Family Table and JF&CS has done for them. Braced to hear the latest bad news, Family Table staff asked, “How are you today?” This time, Mr. Harvey responded, “Not bad. Things are looking up. I couldn’t have done it without you.” Even better than his words of thanks was the look of relief on his face.
Bernice Behar, program manager for Family Table, says people are getting the help they need in a dignified way. “Asking for help is difficult. When someone calls, we provide food along with compassion, which makes things easier. “