Jacqueline’s Story

Jacqueline and her husband were featured in the documentary “A Passing Phase” created by Bisi Alawode of Enactus Lambton Pictures for a project called #LETSCANHUNGER.  It tells their story and shows a snapshot of their life last winter. The aim of “A Passing Phase” is to shatter the stereotypes about families that depend on food banks and break the stigma associated with asking for help.  Her story is featured below.

My name is Jacqueline Davidson, client #8025. Two adults and three children live in my household. I am one of the 1,700 clients my food bank feeds each month.

My food bank card gives my family access to food every 21 days. This card also gives my family access to other amazing services provided by our food bank. Services like the mobile market, which has given me access to fresh, healthy food. The birthday club, which has helped me to have a gift for my child on their birthday. And the backpack program, which has helped at back-to-school time.

These well thought-out services have blessed our family so much. Not only do they wash away some of the shame of poverty, but they help to restore my dignity.

Our local food bank prides itself on providing service with dignity to those who are in need of food and shelter. Our food bank strives to identify and meet the needs of those struggling financially. They look for ways to be the caring hands in our community. To reach out to those in need and offer help.

That is a good way to describe poverty. A NEED that cannot be met on your own. When I can’t meet the basic NEEDS of our family there is an internal struggle of shame that I must battle each day. Poverty threatens to filter my perception, robbing me of joy and hope. It rocks my stability as a parent. Financial burdens put extreme pressure on my marriage. Poverty is a reality you can’t escape, as you live daily in survival mode.

It is very easy to feel isolated. As parents you battle feeling like a failure. My husband and I choose every day to focus on the good and to not allow poverty to turn us bitter or resentful. We are more than our NEED, we are good parents who love each other and our family. We are a family in need, not in need of a handout. We are in NEED of help…

Help because despite our best efforts there just isn’t enough…
there isn’t enough food to last the week…
there isn’t enough money to pay the bills and buy food…
there isn’t enough money to fix what’s broken…
there isn’t enough food to pack lunches…
there isn’t enough gas in the tank to get to work…
there just isn’t ENOUGH.

Living in this cycle of “not enough” is exhausting. Small things feel like huge, looming crises because you are so weary emotionally. Every day you are treading water to stay afloat. It’s easy to feel hopeless. This is why a partnership with a food bank becomes a lifeline. A beacon of hope in your own personal storm.

My partnership with our food bank has helped me to be less reactive to our circumstances and more proactive in seeking help. I no longer feel helpless. I know that there is help and tools to keep me afloat. I know that we will make it. I know that my husband and I are doing our very best.

When we need to access help, I am so thankful that the volunteers at our food bank look me in the eye without judgement or condemnation. It lets me know that I am more than client #8025. I am more than my circumstances. I am more than a statistic. I am Jacqueline, a mother reaching out for help.

I am strong…
Strong enough to face the lack…
Strong enough to choose joy despite not having enough…
Strong enough to ask for help…
Strong enough to be humble and receive the amazing help that is offered…

My food bank has faithfully been a support throughout this hard time. My food bank has offered hope and encouragement in so many ways over the years. We have been blessed with income tax return help, summer camp for our three children, winter coats and boots, bus tickets, gas cards, Christmas sponsors and festive parties with the staff, and Tim Hortons Camp for the children. The list is endless.

Yes, it’s been years of struggle and heartache for my family. It has also been years of blessing and support. I am so very thankful for my food bank staff and the many wonderful volunteers who choose to serve my family with dignity. It makes a world of difference when you are the one receiving the help.

And that gives me strength.

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