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September is Hunger Action Month

5:48 PM, Sep 11, 2013   |    comments
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FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. --  This month FCN is focusing on an issue that hits close to home for too many people on the First Coast. 

About one in every six adults in North Florida isn't sure where their next meal is coming from. September is Hunger Action month, and FCN is putting a face on hunger. Meet Mr. And Mrs. Smith.

"I carried her through the snow to the church," said Basil Smith.

On December 14, 2013 the Smiths will celebrate 55 years of marriage. Eliza Smith says it was a cold Ohio day, when they tied the knot. She had on open toe heels, so her then fiance came to the rescue.

"He picked me up and carried me down the steps in the ice," said Mrs. Smith.

She says he's been seeing her through tough times ever since. In a quiet section of the Journey Church food pantry, they opened up about recent hardships and times when Mr. Smith hasn't had the strength or means to be Eliza's hero.

"About the second weekend of the month, we're usually almost totally out of money," said Mr. Smith.

They're among hundreds of thousands of people in North Florida, who struggle with hunger issues. Like many other elderly people they're on a fixed income, relying on social security.
She gets about $300, he's given a $900 check and they get $400 monthly from a home in Ohio.

"That's all we have for the month," said Mrs. Smith.

They have to juggle their bills every single month. And Mrs. Smith, who's a diabetic, needs her medication.

"You just have to decide do I buy the food or do I buy the medicine," said Mrs. Smith.

Holding his ticket tightly waiting for their number to be called to proceed through the food line Mr. Smith reflects on his youth and not being prepared for this.

"I don't have a retirement fund," said Mr. Smith. "I don't want to go to my children for things that I need. We just live the best that we can."

Mrs. Smith says it's important for us all to check on our elderly neighbors. Sometimes they're in need but just can't seem to ask for the help. She says the older you get the more difficult it can be to reach out for assistance. 

First Coast News

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