April, a mother to four boys and a caregiver to elderly in-laws and sick parents, typically has her hands full. On any given day, she is transporting children to sporting activities, taking someone to an appointment or working as a waitress.
April is diligent about talking with her boys about their futures, emphasizing the importance of education and college. She believes they each have a good head on their shoulders, and hopes they strive to have a better life than her. She openly talks about having her first child at 15 and not finishing high school. “The choices we make in our lives dictate our future, and I hope my boys don’t have to struggle like I do.”
To help her food assistance benefits last the entire month, April is resourceful. “I’m really good at living below my means. By the end of the month, after all my bills are paid, I have $150 for groceries and other expenses.”
She bases her grocery list on the items she’s able to get from the local pantry, buys items in bulk and finds affordable protein at meat markets. Most recently, she began bartering to pay for sporting activities. Volunteering to be the team mom gives her a discount on registration fees; helping the coach’s wife wash dogs at their local business means football fees will be covered.
“My kids didn’t ask to be here; they didn’t ask for this life. It’s my job as a parent to succeed.”
Even though times are difficult for their family, April reminds her boys how much they have compared to others. Until circumstances change, she’ll be able to turn to the food pantry for help when she needs it.