Every week, 82-year-old Andre picks up healthy food from the Franciscan Food Center in downtown Boston, which receives most of its food from The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). He is like so many other seniors in eastern Massachusetts living on fixed or limited incomes, and unable to afford enough nutritious food to avoid hunger. This is Andre’s story.
“I grew up in Haiti, and worked as an elementary school teacher for 19 years. When my father died, it was me who took care of my mother and younger sisters and brother. But it was hard. I had to work, work, work!
“Soon, I had my own family to support, and I stayed working hard all the time. It wasn’t easy. Then, my little sister who I’d helped to raise came to live in Dorchester, and I came for a visit. Right away, I knew my family would have a better life here, so we immigrated to this country.
“We were so grateful to be in Massachusetts, where my daughters could get a good education, and grow up safe and successful. I gave up teaching, and found work at the hospital – in housekeeping and in the kitchen, and as a nurse assistant. Those were hard jobs, but I was proud to be able to provide for my family.
“When I turned 65, I had to stop working because I was just too tired! My income is small, so I moved to Unquity House in Milton and started going to St. Anthony’s Shrine in downtown Boston. At their exercise class for seniors, I learned about the food pantry at the Franciscan Food Center. Since then, I’ve been coming every Thursday to help supplement my grocery budget. I love the Franciscans! Thank God for them.
“What I like about the pantry is that I can choose the foods I want, and the volunteers help me pick out healthier foods, like fresh fruits and vegetables. Having that food during the holiday season means a lot! “I visit the pantry every week because it helps keep me strong and healthy. I’m still an acolyte, contributing and staying active in my church. I turned 82 in late September, but I don’t look it!”