No Hunger Game Part 2, The Faces Of Those Who Help
NORTH CENTRAL FLORIDA - The holidays are here and many Americans will eat too much, while others won't have nearly enough. The Bread of the Mighty Food Bank has been trying to change that for the last 26 years.
On one end, they are part of the nation's largest hunger relief charity, Feeding America. On the other end, they provide food to more than 100 partner agencies. In part two of our four-part series, no hunger game we show you why it’s so personal for some who run those agencies.
This is a story about hope— Kathleen Hope Knapp. “I have to sit down, because if I don’t I will fall down,” Knapp said. Her disability prevents her from working. So having food is something she constantly worried about— Until now.
The Bread of the mighty food bank works with more than 130 agencies who serve on the frontlines of poverty, be it through soup kitchens or food pantries. One of those agencies became her lifeline. Knapp says there came a time when she felt lost. And it was at that moment "basic life support" found her.
“And all of the sudden I got a call from some people called the basic life support systems… and I asked them who they were and they said we have something for you, we have some food, I said what?” Knapp said.
Basic Life Support is a family-run, 24-7 food pantry that delivers food. Shanetta Reese the Vice-President said, "The way it works is we'll get a phone call from an individual or family that is in need and we meet them either at their home or just anywhere local in the community that we can meet them to give them food."
Knapp moved to Florida to be closer to Shands hospital to treat a number of ailments. Loretta Griffis with the “Bread of the Mighty Food Bank” says Knapp is not alone. "Elderly are a big one," Griffis said.
According to the US census, seniors have had the largest increase in poverty. A revised 2012 census measure shows the poverty rate for the elderly went from 9 percent to about 15 percent, mostly because of medical expenses.
"They worked all their lives and they're getting their social security but with the rising prices, social security isn't going up. Those are people that are struggling to feed themselves," Griffis said.
It's that need in our community that is driving Basic Life Support to expand their services. One day they hope to create a multipurpose building for the underprivileged. Sherite Thomas the Director and Events Coordinator said, "Not only to have a pantry set up where people can actually come there when they need food, but also to have an area where we have computers set up so people can come and be able to apply for jobs over the computer."
Thinking about what his mother, Sherite endured while he and his brother were growing up, Andrá Thomas decided to start Basic Life Support two years ago. "I sit down one day and we was eating as a family and everyone was eating but my mother and I asked her why are you not eating and she said that she was okay, that she had already eaten,” Andrá said. It wasn’t until years later that Andrá realized his mother wasn’t eating at the family table because there wasn’t enough for everyone. Something he doesn’t want others to go through.
"It really gives me joy to be able to help someone. It doesn't matter in what way that I help. It just gives me a good feeling to be able to help someone that is in need in the community," Andrá said. A good feeling he shares with Knapp. She tells me that catching the sunset from her 6th floor balcony every afternoon and "basic life support's" help are the two things that make her a little more hopeful each day.
Click here for more info on Basic Life Support.
Click here for more info on the Bread of the Mighty Food Bank.
Click here for part 1, which takes us inside of the Bread Of The Mighty Food Bank.
Click here for part 2, which shows us the faces of those who help.
Click here for part 3, which shows us the faces of those in need.
Click here for part 4, which focuses on struggling families.
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