Client Story: Charlene
By Emily Gallion, Grant & Metrics Manager/Advocacy Manager, and Caitlyn McIntosh, SNAP/Outreach Lead
Client interview by Katie Heinkel, Mobile Pantries and Data Entry Assistant
Staff at The Foodbank recently had the opportunity to talk to Charlene, a Foodbank client, at our on-site Drive Thru Food Pantry.
Charlene, who is 62, attended The Foodbank’s Drive Thru March 25 to pick up her Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) box. She brought her neighbor, who is also enrolled in the program, to pick up her box as well.
CSFP, also known as the Senior Food Box program, is a United States Department of Agriculture program that distributes food to low-income seniors so that they can have a balanced, healthy diet. The Foodbank facilitates food distribution for this program, which is administered by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
Food assistance is especially important to older adults, who are at higher risk for complications related to food insecurity. Food insecure seniors are more likely to underutilize prescribed medications, face limitations in activity, and experience chronic health conditions.
Charlene has been enrolled in CSFP for two years now. She said she likes everything that comes in the box, but her favorite is the block cheese, which she said makes good grilled cheese and mac and cheese. In addition to the items in the box, which are primarily shelf stable, The Foodbank distributes bonus food items on days we host our CSFP distributions.
She said she was at the Drive Thru to make sure she had enough food for herself and the kids. Currently, she has four people living in her household, and she is living on a fixed income. She has a total of 7 grandkids.
“You’ve got to do what you have to do when you have kids,” she said.
Charlene said she likes using The Foodbank’s Drive Thru because it is convenient. Because staff places the food in clients’ vehicles, she doesn’t have to worry about getting out of the car and carrying groceries.
This was our Drive Thru’s original purpose: to provide an accessible way for CSFP clients, many of whom have mobility challenges, to pick up their food boxes. Over time, the purpose of the Drive Thru has expanded to include disaster relief and more widespread food assistance, but we still host weekly CSFP Drive Thrus.
Charlene encouraged everyone who needed help with food to seek it out.
“Don’t be ashamed, because everyone needs help,” she said. “Times are hard, and we are all here in the same boat, so you don’t have to be embarrassed.”
In March, The Foodbank distributed 973 CSFP boxes in Montgomery and Greene County. To qualify for this program, you must be over the age of 60 and have an income at or below 130% of the federal poverty line. To check if you qualify and to obtain an application, visit https://thefoodbankdayton.org/needfood/.
Questions? Contact Program Manager Katie Ly at (937) 461-0265 x33 or Kly@thefoodbankdayton.org.