Stories of Hope and Courage

Stories of Hope and Courage1 in 5 Central Floridians are struggling with the reality of hunger and food insecurity. Here are some of their stories. Do you have a story to tell? Click here to share your story. 


Hector's Story
Hector worked in the civil service industry for over 25 years, until a back injury started to deteriorate his health. At home, he supported both his parents and siblings until his condition worsened.

A Mother's Story
When Judie's husband Paul lost his job as a Civil Engineer during the Great Recession, all the air was let out of the family's financial balloon. Being homeless was beyond the family's wildest imagination, even just a year before when they had felt so secure.

SNAP Success
Fred is 78-years old, and 'recently retired.' Actually, he had made no plans to stop working, but was forced to do so when the company he worked for made some changes. Because he was mostly a lower-wage earner his entire life, Fred never managed to sock away huge sums for his later years.

First Timers
Sandra is a 55-year old grandmother, who is raising twin ten-year old grandchildren. She works part time at a local nonprofit organization, but her wages are not enough to cover rent, utilities, clothing, and other expenses for the small family.

The Tuna Turkey
James and Melanie are both young, college-educated adults with two young children. Recently, Melanie learned that her company was down-sizing and lost her job. They cut back in all the ways they could think of, and sacrificed many of their 'comforts.' Melanie began looking for work immediately, but was not successful. When James learned just one month later that his job, too, was going to disappear, the family faced a true calamity.

Hot, Hungry, Hurting ...
Fifty-five year-old Marty wore a backpack, had a large brace on one knee, and limped laboriously with the help of a cane. He was red-faced, huffing from exertion, and perspiring in the heat. Taking a number from a small box by the doorway of the pantry, he sat in a folding chair, carefully extending his 'bad' knee in front of him. He closed his eyes for a few moments, and sighed deeply.

Dreams, ambition, and talent ...
This month's story comes from an Orlando elementary school teacher. She related the story of Luis, a fifth grade boy in her class. Luis came to Florida with his father from Puerto Rico just over one year ago. He lives in a one-room efficiency apartment with his dad, who makes less than minimum wage at his job.

Homeless and Hungry
Twelve years ago, Santos arrived in Central Florida from Puerto Rico. He had heard of a job opportunity and decided to pursue it. It never materialized. He quickly learned that being alone without resources in an unfamiliar city was not a comfortable situation to be in. Once his limited funds ran out he became homeless and spent a year and a half living on the streets of Orlando.

A big chicken in the pot
Paul is a civil engineer in his fifities who lost his job in 2009 due to a down-sizing event at his company. For years he had worked successfully on many major construction projects that are well known throughout Central Florida. As the breadwinner of his single-income family of four, Paul immediately began looking for a similar position with other firms. No luck.

At age 30, Randy looked a bit older than the typical college student at UCF. On the first day that he walked into the "Knights Helping Knights" emergency food pantry at UCF, Randy was able to receive a bag of food to get him through until he could afford to buy groceries for himself. Like many other college students today, every single penny he had available was tied up in other directions related to housing and school expenses, and nothing was left for food.




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