"Food is always the last priority."

On a cloudy December morning, Barbara stands in line for food assistance at the Food Bank's food distribution in La Mesa. She arrived at 7 a.m. for a food distribution that starts at 9 a.m.Barbara lives in the College Area, and she has been receiving monthly food assistance from the Food Bank at this food distribution in La Mesa for a couple of years now. After she retired from her nursing job, she found it hard to put food on the table after paying for medication and bills.

"I am struggling to make ends meet on Social Security, and I found out about this food distribution through a friend. I come here to get help once a month," says Barbara.[caption id="attachment_15500" align="alignright" width="300"]
Barbara is handed food by a Food Bank volunteer.[/caption]

Barbara stands in line behind another senior citizen, Carol, who explains the situation many seniors face. "It's so tough getting by. Our first priority is rent, then medication, then utilities. Food is always the last priority," explains Carol."I had a job working as a nurse in the Navy, and when I retired, there was a delay with my retirement for 6 months and that put me really behind financially. And I still struggle. I need the food to supplement what I can buy with my retirement check. Rent and food prices in San Diego are so high these days," explains Barbara.When asked if the Food Bank has helped, Barbara looks at the line of seniors waiting for food and says, "Absolutely. We really need the help. This food is really going to help for Christmas and the holidays. This will help all of us standing in line here today."As Barbara goes through the food line, she receives a bag of apples, a bag of potatoes, a bag of onions, a bag of corn, a bag of mushrooms, bread, a carton of milk, and a variety of nonperishable groceries.Every month, more than 10,000 seniors living near the poverty level receive food assistance from the Food Bank. In many cases, the food they receive from the Food Bank prevents these seniors from facing hunger at home.

"I don't know what I would do without the food that I get from the Food Bank every month. I would just like to thank the Food Bank's donors. This is a godsend for us here today," says Barbara as she takes food to her car.

If you would like to help, the Food Bank is always looking for volunteers to pack our senior food boxes every week. CLICK HERE to sign up for a shift.You can also donate to our Senior Food Initiative by contacting Liz Sheahan, Vice President of Development, at 858-863-5129 or LSheahan@SanDiegoFoodBank.org.