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Understanding Hunger: Hunger Stories

Sharon and her family struggle to make ends meet

It's been 17 years since Sharon needed an emergency food box to feed her family. Back then, she was a single mother, working in production and trying to recover from a back injury.

Now, she's married and her husband has a good job as a machinist in the graphite industry. They've been able to stay on solid financial ground, until recently, when the economic recession hit, and her husband's hours were cut.

"He lost half of the hours he would normally work in a month," Sharon says. "For us, even a few days without pay is enough to set us back. And once you're behind, it's hard to catch up."

To add to the family's struggles, Sharon's son was recently laid off from his job at American Metals and now lives with his parents until he can find work again and get back on his feet. He's been looking, but hasn't had any luck finding another job.

"I feel lucky that my husband still has a job and that there's still a roof over our heads," Sharon says. "But we live in fear of what might happen next. We live paycheck to paycheck, barely making it. I feel like wer'e in a tunnel that just might close in on us."

When things get particularly bad, Sharon relies on emergency food boxes to help her family get by.

"If we have any food at all, I try to make it last somehow," she says. "My grandmother grew up during the Great Depression and taught my mother and I how to cook and to make the most of what you have. We only use the food bank as a last resort."

Sharon hopes that the economy will soon turn around, that her son will find work again and that they will catch up with their bills.

"It's not easy for us to accept charity," Sharon says. "But I'm grateful to know that resources exist when you really need them. Especially in tough times like these."
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