I bring who I am to my present condition. I live with a below poverty income while continuing to express my values. I believe in giving back and contributing to those who have less, using my gardening talent and knowledge. Neighbors and friends donate seeds every spring. Gene offers a giant garden space, complete with marine clay, lots of sunshine, and somehow no deer. I turn soil, dig, weed. Gene turns soil, digs, mulches. The russian kale and spinach and parsley regenerate every season. The harvest is weekly, plentiful and has granted me the nickname, "kale lady" at our local food pantry. I am reminded that hard work and dedication to greens brings great satisfaction to myself and others who can not afford to buy fresh produce. I am proud of my food pantry hauls.
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Middleincomepoverty often mentions food and food insecurity. Lack of nutritious food causes anxiety and reduces the ability to move out of poverty. Here is a story from awhile ago: Outside the community services building, I bumped into my friend Rachel. I stared at the ground, hoping she wouldn’t see my red puffed eyes and wet cheeks. “Oh Theresa, you look horrible. Here, take this tissue. What is the matter?”. “I am here to get help. I went grocery shopping, and my EBT card failed.” “So tell me what happened” Rachel was sincerely concerned. “I was too embarrassed to tell the cashier I had no other money. And I could not be humilated in front of the other people in line. Just minutes before I had a casual chat with the lady behind me about what I use coconut oil for.” Rachel laughed, “ I bet she said, “Oh, its so expensive” and meanwhile, she had several cake mixes in her cart, right? Probably spending the same amount of money and who would be baking the healthier cake?” Rachel a