Sometimes What You Need Just Isn’t There

Ms. Jones comes in monthly for food and clothing. Her monthly SSI check of $1,600 seems like it would stretch, but not when your family includes five children from nineteen to twenty-four years of age and five school-age grandchildren. The eldest daughter works and contributes another $669 monthly to the family income. After bills, all eleven family members have a little over $800 for food and other necessities.

When you read the economic reports, it seems like there would be jobs available. And the other children are looking. Unfortunately, the family lives in a “food and job desert,” a part of town with few stores, few restaurants, limited access to groceries, and few businesses. The one car they own stays busy taking children to school, getting one adult to work and running all the household errands. Without additional transportation, getting to another part of Little Rock for interviews and employment or even to buy groceries is tough. Because they are not homeless, they don’t qualify for free bus passes or other supplemental programs. St. Francis House and other local food pantries are this family’s main source of food and other items.