On a sunny fall morning, Savannah and her son Ronin wait in line for food assistance at the Food Bank’s food distribution in Tierrasanta.
“I have three children. My oldest, Gabe, is thirteen years old. My daughter, Scarlett, is six years old, and my youngest, Ronin, is a year old. We moved to San Diego a few months ago from North Carolina because my husband, Manny, is in the Marines and he got stationed here,” explains Savannah.
Before moving to San Diego, Savannah and her family were stationed at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point in North Carolina. Since moving to San Diego, Savannah sought help from the Food Bank because her family is struggling to make ends meet due to the region’s high cost of living. To qualify for food assistance from this program, a family of five cannot have a household income of more than $44,130.
“Everything is so much more expensive here in San Diego. In North Carolina, I could shop smart and get all the groceries we needed, but in California, the produce and meat are so much more expensive. And chicken is double the price here. On top of that, our rent is higher and our utilities are around $200 more every month. Plus, a gallon of gas here is almost double too,” says Savannah.
Currently, the family of five survives on one paycheck, but Savannah is looking for a job to help make ends meet. “In North Carolina, I was a stay-at-home mom, but here, we need extra money to get by, and I am currently looking for work. If I can get a job, it would mean a world of difference for my family,” she explains.
“Initially, I was looking for a normal ‘9 to 5’ full-time day job, but I discovered that the cost of childcare would be more than I could earn, so I’m now looking for a part-time evening job so I can watch the children during the daytime, and my husband can watch the kids at night while I work. We’re lucky that my husband is in a ‘nondeployable’ unit which means he is here in San Diego permanently, unlike other military personnel who get deployed overseas for several months at a time,” says Savannah.
“I have a degree in biology, so I am looking for a lab technician job. If I can’t find a job in that field, I will apply to be a restaurant server. Any job would be a great help to us financially,” she continues.
As Savannah goes through the food line, volunteers give her canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned soup, peanut butter, frozen ground beef, a bag of frozen fish, a bag of rice, beans, a bag of potatoes, a bag of cabbage, cantaloupe, a bag of lettuce, a bag of tomatoes, a bag of cauliflower, a bag of apples, celery, a bag of plums, and eggs.
This is Savannah’s second time receiving help from the Food Bank, and she likes making new recipes with the fresh produce. “Last time, I got some produce items that I wouldn’t normally cook with, like beans and cabbage. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and cooked new recipes. I made a taco bean salad, and I slow baked the cabbage. The kids loved it,” she explains.
When asked if she would like to give a message to the Food Bank’s donors who make these programs possible, Savannah says, “I hope that the Food Bank’s donors realize how much this really helps my family and the other families that are here today. This makes a huge difference in our lives. This food will last us for a long time. It’s healthy and nutritious for my kids. I’m so grateful to the Food Bank’s donors for making this possible. When our family is in a better position, we plan to give back and volunteer because I know what it’s like to need the help.”
If you would like to support the Food Bank’s feeding programs for low-income families, contact Liz Sheahan at 858-863-5129 or LSheahan@SanDiegoFoodBank.org.