Norman, 64, a 40-year medical health professional, now working as a consultant, never thought he’d find himself at a food pantry. He’s lived a successful life and loved his work, but as he gets older, it’s becoming more difficult to secure work, so he currently serves as a substitute teacher when opportunities arise.
“I never thought I’d be here,” he said, referencing his first visit to a local food pantry. “It took me a year to even accept the idea of asking for help; it wasn’t until I got hungry enough.”
Despite Norman’s current circumstances, he says it’s been an amazing surprise for him and has helped debunk his stereotype of individuals needing help.
“As I wait in line at the pantry, I’ve met some of the most considerate and thoughtful people,” he reflected. “I’ve been on the giving end many times, but I’ve never been on the receiving end – it is a gift of the highest order.”
Norman is willing to talk about his situation, though it took some time. “I felt embarrassed and had to learn how to get over that,” he explained. “The stronger feeling is grace, recognizing that we all do our best to contribute and sometimes it’s not enough. But I feel more a part of the community and more compassionate than ever.”
With help from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and his local food pantry, Norman has been able to find the resources he needs to live a healthy life.