John – that’s the name we’ll call him, since he asked not to be identified – is not the type of person you might expect to ever go hungry. He had good jobs, earning as much as $100,000 annually in advertising, as a financial advisor and in commercial collections.
When his wife became ill with kidney cancer, which spread to her spine, he left his job to care for her.
Since she was in her 50s, she didn’t qualify for Medicare; since he was in his 60s, going back to work wasn’t easy. With neither of them working and medical bills rising, they had trouble making ends meet.
“Cancer in the spine is one of the most painful things in the world,” John said. “The hospital treats you with radiation. You have to pay for medications. After a while, things got very tight.”
Without income, they went through their savings. While juggling rent, medications and meals, they heard about something they never considered: a pantry.