Facing hunger never seemed like a possibility for Kharey and her husband. The couple both had fulltime jobs, and owned a home where their three children could thrive.
A year ago, their circumstances changed. Their 6-year-old daughter, Raven, began struggling in school, and the family made the difficult choice for Kharey to stay home to homeschool her, and to care for their 4-year-old son, Ezrah, who was diagnosed with autism.
Without Kharey’s income, the family’s expenses became difficult to manage and food became harder and harder to buy. They needed to prioritize expenses like utilities and their mortgage. Unfortunately, Kharey’s husband makes just enough income to disqualify them from receiving SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and other benefits.
Things turned around for the family when they heard about and began attending Mobile Food Pantries, where they receive fresh produce and other items to fill their plates. The resource allows them to allocate their limited financial resources to other necessities.
Kharey’s circumstances are similar to many others receiving food at the Mobile Food Pantries made possible by the Ottawa Community Schools Network and generously sponsored by the Greater Ottawa County United Way.
Nationally, more than 62 percent of households facing hunger had at least one family member working. An additional 28 percent were either retired or disabled.
In Ottawa County, 12 percent of people face hunger. Mobile Food Pantries help these community members make ends meet as they work to get back on their feet.
Without Mobile Pantries, Kharey believes her family “would probably starve.”
“It’s kind of scary to think about,” she said.
At the food distribution the family attended at Coopersville High School last fall, they received pizza served by All Shores Wesleyan Church before waiting in line for groceries.
The kids and Kharey were excited.
“We haven’t had pizza in a long time,” Kharey said.
Feeding America West Michigan is proud to support resilient families like Kharey’s. We know hunger can affect neighbors from all walks of life, and we are grateful for our network of partner agencies, who won’t rest until all neighbors at risk of hunger in West Michigan and the Upper Peninsula can receive the support they need.
Story written by Communication Assistant Juliana Ludema.