LR: okay, so let’s start with, what does it mean to you to be hungry?
R: uh, usually to go a meal or two, and then not have any way to get food, just to be sitting there and uh not have anywhere to go really. I mean, maybe the drop or you might get kicked outta there so, if you live there you’re not supposed to eat there, so basically you’re home and wondering, where am I going to eat?
LR: so if you’re, at the Drop, you said it was?
R: yeah, it’s over on 9th, and its like a homeless shelter, like a kind of a day shelter, to go to eat during the day, but you’re not supposed to go there if you’re housed.
LR: so it’s one or the other?
LR: um, so, if you’re housed there, what kind of options do you have?
R: well you can go to the local food pantries, um,
LR: is it hard to get there? To the food panties?
R: uh, walking’s kinda hard, I mean you would need to have something to uh carry the food in, like you could try to carry just the bags but that would get heavy. I would suggest taking like a rolling bin or something or like a book bag, I have a couple friends that do that, um, friends or family that have either vehicles or workers to help them, but if you don’t have a case worker or something to help you, just a book bag.
LR: okay so walking, as opposed to the bus system doesn’t really help you? Does it [the bus] not really go to most food places?
R: well, it goes around some of the different pantries, but you have to think about the money too, bus isn’t free, and plus if you’re trying to hit two, three pantries within a couple days then you’re not gonna want to use the bus cuz you’re gonna have to take maybe 3 or 4 different buses to get to the different areas.
LR: so, how long does it take to walk to a food pantry from where you are?
R: um well
is the closest to me, it’s about 10 min, the
next is transitional, it’s about 40 minute walk. And I know, uh St. Anne’s food
pantry, they have um one every day, but that’s clear down on the Avenue, down
Wabash avenue, that’s quite a walk and uh they serve at like 10:00 in the
morning so you have to be there pretty early. st.
LR: okay, um, so how often do you experience, I may have asked this question but I want you to elaborate more, how often do you experience hunger? Is it an everyday, “when am I gonna get food?” or is it pretty easy once you go to the food pantry at the beginning of the week to kinda last throughout the week?
R: um, I’d say it depends on how many people are in your household, but for me, it’s me and my roommate so um I kinda have to try to make the food last and um if I’m feeling really hungry and I overeat one day towards the end of the week here I might need to go hungry for a day. Or two.
LR: so do you find in trying to ration, is it better to have a little bit of food at every meal or to have one meal where you eat whatever you want and then you go the rest of the day without anything?
R: no, that’s not really smart; I’d say several small times a day, rationing it, that’s smarter. Gorging it like right when you get it, eating as much as you can, cuz you’ve been without food and then you’re so hungry and you eat it all and then it’s gone. Out of luck then.
LR: so do you find, how do you get food other than food pantry, or is that pretty much it?
R: I get a social security check, so I have a case worker, and I only get about 20$ a week in spending money, but um, I get a food check of about 30$ at the beginning of the month which isn’t much for the whole month but I will go like to wal-mart and buy a case of ramen noodles or something.
LR: okay, um, are there—what are some of the things you especially think are good, that food pantries or
does for people who experience
R: well, hmmm…..i’d say that they are pretty reasonable about the different kind of foods they give, like uh, pork and even powered milk, eggs, things like that that they give and the amount that they give, like if you tell them how many people you have in your household and uh you can usually get a certain amount for each person, even if they’re not with ya, so those are some positive aspects about it.
LR: good, do you have, how long have you been going to food pantries?
R: oh, two or three years. I’ve been going to food pantries my whole life but you know, on my own I’ve been going for about 2-3 years now.
LR: okay, and what are some things you don’t like about the way food pantries or anything else, any other ways of getting food access—what things would you change?
R: well, I think I would change the stipulation on how many times a person could come, I know that matthew and his roommate have been banned from one food pantry, Hannah center, for lying and going in there twice and I don’t think that uh, that’s exactly the way to do it, to just ban somebody for six months just cuz they’re hungry enough that they had to come in and try to lie. That’s kinda sad and uh I don’t really know, maybe put a stipulation on it like once every two weeks instead of once a month, then again, maybe the food supply, maybe there just isn’t enough.
LR: okay, so it sounds like you’re pretty understanding of, like everybody has considerations that have to be met and not everyone can have everything as ideally as they would like. Matt was talking about everyone should, they should provide more fresh food, like a VP, what are your thoughts on that? (pause). It’s okay, we don’t have to tell him what you think.
R: personally I think he’s an idiot because, no offense but, uh, when you look at when people are going to coming by, fresh foods are going to go bad quickly, that’s why you get canned foods or foods that are not gonna go bad, or you have refrigeration. I mean, the kind of ideas that he has are good ideas to have like a VP where you can just walk in and get the food that they need but like I said, fresh foods, there’s problems with things like that because outbreak or gnats or something deteriorate all the food then you’d have a real problem and have a lot of people go hungry.
LR: okay, yeah, those are all great points. Do you see, you mentioned like the homeless shelter only offers shelter OR food, are there any other things like that that you’ve experienced where you’ve had barriers to getting food?
R: like I said, when you go to the food pantry, you can only go about once a month, and I have gone in there with no food, not had food for a few days and been really hungry, really needing that food, and they told me that maybe I was a week too soon, I had just got food three weeks ago so I had to wait another week and that was really terrible so – that’s pretty much all it’s been, that I’ve been in contact with, is just that.
LR: so do you think that would be a problem though if they just let you take a little bit more food at the beginning of the month?
R: that might still be a problem cuz if they let you get more food then you might think, oh, I’ve got all this food, and you might eat more food, consume more, and then still run out.
LR: so would a biweekly system be better?
R: I think biweekly would be the wisest choice there.
LR: Any other experiences with getting food that seem pretty normal to you that you’re surprised when other people don’t think that’s normal to experience the same thing?
R: hmm, well I go like with my case worker sometimes and she’ll just buy like a bag of candy and things and I’m sitting there buying a cart of ramen noodles and I feel kinda bad, I’m like, maybe people are looking at me funny cuz I’m buying ramen noodles, this disgusting food that nobody really likes and uh it’s just ---
LR: you know, my sister loves ramen noodles, yes, that’s what she chooses to go out and buy
R: oh, I’d like to go to the store with her sometime then! No, uh, when I see, with the case worker, I kinda felt bad then. Other than that, I don’t, I mean, people do what they have to do to survive and ya know…
LR: so when your case worker, when she does something like that, I take it you didn’t bring it up with her, mention it to her?
R: mention that I felt strangely?
LR:--like “what are you doing buying candy right now?”
R: no, I just thought that, well, she gave me transportation to the store and she didn’t have to do that, so I’m not gonna burden her with my little whims.
LR: do you think it would be important for her, or other people like that, to know about things like that?
R: I think they definitely should be, uh, more practical about what they are gonna go to the store and buy if we’re there at the same time and be mindful that we only get a certain amount of money a month and they control how much money we get so them getting candy bars and things, they should be mindful of that it can hurt someone’s feelings.
LR: be a little insensitive
END OF TRANSCRIPT