In a food pantry in Mt. Kisco, 75-year old Barbara stands before the protein station. She picks out a package of frozen chicken and then carefully places a carton of eggs on top. “I have friends,” she offers. “But you know something? When you’re really in trouble, they can only help so much.”
It is early on a Wednesday morning at the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, one of 46 feeding programs supported by Episcopal Charities. Before proceeding, Barbara stops to get a free flu shot, part of a regular wellness program that is offered to clients. Barbara is just one of many seniors for whom visits to the Pantry are a weekly routine. With social security her only income, she has fallen behind on the common charges that her condo assesses. “They are trying to force me out,” she says fearfully, “but where do I go at the age of 75? No apartment will accept my dog.”
Born and raised in the Bronx, Barbara is a 60-year veteran of the workforce, having held positions in bookkeeping, data entry, or sales since the age of 15. She bought her condo in Mount Kisco in 1977 and enjoyed a stable, secure life-style. But everything changed in 2012 when she was handed both a pink slip and a cancer diagnosis. “That’s when I fell into financial issues,” she said. “You work hard all your life, you get sick, and here you are.” For Barbara, hard financial times mean hard choices every day.
For Barbara, it is The Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry that makes all the difference, a community working together to provide her the lifeline—and hope—she needs.