Client Perspectives

“Sometimes when we have no food, I come to the food bank and leave with bags of food and tears in my eyes. Thank you!” – a mother with two young children

“I am grateful for the dignity of the experience of coming to Good Cheer.  Applying for federal aid programs is humiliating and demoralizing, but not so here.” – a client with two teens

“Several years ago I was injured, unable to work and hungry. Good Cheer kept me going with food and encouragement.” – a 60 year-old-client

“When people read headlines about unemployment and high poverty rates in the U.S., it doesn’t quite translate into how people are affected in our community. What clients shared on this survey puts a human voice to the needs, the worries, and the profound thankfulness clients have for the Food Bank and the community which supports it, ”said Good Cheer Executive Director Kathy McLaughlin McCabe.

What do you wish people to understand about Food Bank clients?

  • “That anyone could, someday, find themselves in the same situation.”
  • “That this is a humbling experience, and the number of people needing help is growing.”
  • “That we are the same as everyone else — hardworking people trying to figure out how to make ends meet.”
  • “Many, like me, work very hard to provide for their families. I make too much to qualify for food stamps, but too little to provide quality food for my growing teenagers. Good Cheer makes all the difference for us.”
  • “That we are not lazy, we just need a hand.”
  • “That many of us who use it do work and are trying our best.”
  • “That we are just regular people having a tough time in this economy.”
  • “That we are just like everyone else — until losing our jobs, homes, etc. We are working at improving our current situation.”
  • “We are more alike than different.”

What other kinds of help do you need on South Whidbey that you cannot find?

  • “Affordable dental care.”
  • “Low-cost medical care.”
  • “Affordable counseling.”
  • “Gas vouchers.”
  • “Respite care for caregivers.”
  • “Haircuts for girls that are affordable.”
  • “Automotive help with car maintenance.”
  • “Help with affording medications.”
  • “Closer medical care”
  • “Caregiving for my disabled wife and self.”
  • “An area for kids with toys while their parents shop at the Food Bank.”
  • “Help with budgeting.”
  • “Low-cost home repairs.”
  • “Jobs.”
  • “Help filing bankruptcy.”
  • “Low-cost veterinary help.”
  • “A shelter for homeless people.”
  • “Affordable childcare.”

What is your biggest worry every month?

  • “Paying the bills.”
  • “Good Cheer has helped me tremendously with feeding my family. My biggest worry now is shelter and heat this winter.
  • “PSE bills and other utilities.”
  • “I need a job.”
  • “Running out of food points before the month ends.”
  • “Propane bills”
  • “Paying the rent.”
  • “Keeping my truck running so I can get to work.”
  • “Falling behind on the mortgage.”
  • “Becoming homeless. I’m 70 and disabled.”
  • “Getting regular hours at my job and making ends meet.”
  • “Some months are rougher than others. I mostly worry about having enough for my kids’ lunches.”
  • “Paying for heat and for my medications.”
  • “Running out of milk and diapers.”
  • “Having enough gas money to get to community college.”
  • “Paying for my $200 copays on medications that I shouldn’t go without.”
  • “Firewood.”

What advice do you have about how to get by on a limited income?

  • “Only get what you need and go for bargains rather than name brands.”“Don’t do instant meals. Learn how to cook.”
  • “Stock up on canned vegetables and fruit and soup.”
  • “Shop sales, use coupons, don’t waste anything; find a way to use it.”
  • “Use public transit.”
  • “Pay your bills first; the rest works out somehow.”
  • “Make one meal into two; use rice, pasta and potatoes to make the meat go farther.”
  • “Call the county assessor for help with taxes.”
  • “Change your diet to more fresh foods and vegetables – protein, beans, lentils and rice.”
  • “Cook using one-point foods. Your points go further the healthier you eat.”
  • “Work hard and be happy.”
  • “Scale back wherever you can and car pool or ride the bus.”
  • “Be creative in looking for work. Market your skills directly to become self-employed.”
  • “Eat whole grains and fresh produce and beans.”
  • “Buy the basics… forget the sweets… take fruit with slight scabs and make applesauce.”
  • “Save! Save! Save! And start your own garden.”
  • “Shop at Thrift Stores and only for basics.”
  • “Help others. What goes around comes around.”
  • “Write out a budget. Make weekly meal plans, and make meals that can stretch.”
  • “Decide what you are willing to give up. Don’t get any credit cards. Be very careful with utilities, especially electricity.”
  • “Keep trying to look for extra income by meeting people in the community for extra work.”
  • “Learn how to cook whole foods and big- pot meals. One frozen chicken lasts me two weeks. Staples like rice and beans are essential.”
  • “Cook and eat at home and shop sales and Thrift Stores.”
  • “Think ahead and plan your first meals around perishables.”
  • “Get involved in the community and make friends. This doesn’t help financially, but it does help emotionally.”
  • “Pray.”