Although most people think of hungry people and homeless people as the same, the problem of hunger reaches far beyond homelessness. While the thought of 40.5 million people across the US being hungry or at the risk of hunger may be surprising, it is the faces of those 40.5 million individuals that would probably most shock you.
The face of hunger is the older couple who has worked hard for their entire lives only to find their savings wiped out by unavoidable medical bills; or a single mother who has to choose whether the salary from her minimum wage job will go to buy food or pay rent; or a child who struggles to concentrate on his schoolwork because his family couldn’t afford dinner the night before.
Luis Mendoza is 35. Six years ago he emigrated from El Salvador with his wife. He works part time for a wholesale grocer for $6.75 per hour. His wife works full time as a housekeeper at $7.30 per hour. Their 1983 Honda broke down and because they need the car to get to work , they had to pay about $500 for repairs. After taxes, the family's monthly income is $1,787. Luis returned the $5 bill you dropped at the gas station last Tuesday.
Raymond Washington is a 51-year-old war veteran. Because of an injury and limited job skills, he is unable to find work. Raymond stays two weeks a month at a single resident occupancy hotel, then moves to the streets or tries to get a bed at a local shelter. He has enrolled in the city's General Assistance program, which provides an income of $294 per month. You saw him petting a dog outside the cafe last week.
Lynn Johnson is a 33-year-old single mother who lives with her 2 sons in Manchester. She has a college degree and even though she works full time, she has been struggling to make ends meet since her husband left two years ago. She works as an insurance claims processor, earning $11.25 an hour. after taxes, Lynn's monthly income is $1,365. You saw her waiting for the bus yesterday.
Dora Parker is 67. She lives with her 8-year-old granddaughter. She has had custody of her granddaughter for five years; her son and daughter-in-law have long histories of drug addiction and are unable to provide care. Her only source of income is her late husband's Social Security payment, which provides a total income of $786 each month. She used to play bridge with your Aunt May.