(CNN) It took just 10 minutes for Regina Status to pick up her Thanksgiving basket in front of her Bronx, New York, apartment. A last-minute delivery from Agatha House Foundation, a local food pantry, arrived just in time.
But in those few minutes, Status slowly pushed her food cart, fighting the cold and the whipping wind she said took her breath away. In many ways it represents her life over the past few months.
Status is one of 50 million Americans who won’t have enough to eat this year, in part because of the pandemic. According to Feeding America, the largest hunger relief group in the United States, the number of hungry Americans in the US is trending towards recession numbers, when 56 million Americans were food insecure.
“I had no turkey,” said Status. “I didn’t even know where that was going to come from. But you know, I’ve got to take it one day at a time.”
Regina Status stands in her kitchen with food from the Agatha House Foundation in the Bronx.
Status says she wasn’t eligible for unemployment and is living off what she calls her “survival fund” — money she received after her daughters’ father died from cancer years ago. It was supposed to be for their college fund, but today it pays the bills.
In the summer, she was relying on multiple food pantries to make ends meet, but earlier this fall her car was totaled. Now she has no way to make her early-morning pantry runs and gets by on a once-a-week delivery from Agatha House.
“It’s just a relief that I don’t have to purchase all of that,” she said of the Thanksgiving basket from Agatha House. “It’s a relief that somebody is actually thinking about me.”
This week, Agatha House is preparing Thanksgiving baskets for families who would otherwise go without a meal. They are meticulously curated with fresh fruit, a signature Thanksgiving turkey, and even a small gift — candles and picture frames are tucked inside.
“I think we have to look in and try to imagine ourselves in their position, what we would want for ourselves, not just to give them a cardboard box,” said Jeanette Joseph-Greenaway, founder of Agatha House Foundation.
Joseph-Greenaway says the pantry has experienced a 100% increase in need since the pandemic, with many new faces.
“A lot of them are coming here to make ends meet — the in-between to just get over the hump. Between their rents and the rest of the bills that have not stopped, they have to come to the food pantry,” said Joseph-Greenaway. Read from source….