“It takes a lot out of you to be a grandma!”

Gloria visits a Food Bank pantry in the Fillmore, where she lives with her son and two of her grandchildren. In a recent conversation, she reflected on her role in holdiGloria visits a pantry in the Fillmore to help care for two of her grandchildrenng her family together.

I try to be supportive of my family. My son, well – he’s got baby mama drama. So he’s living here with me, and we’ve got his two children (my grandchildren) here, too. He works for the apartment building taking the garbage out, doing maintenance and that kind of thing. He gets about $400/month. That’s just enough to keep us going along with my money, which is $845. Sometimes a little goes a long way. We don’t get to have all those special things in life, but we’re together.

And my daughter’s going through a divorce now. She went to school to be a nurse, but she still hasn’t gotten a job because it takes a year for the internship. And with the children and everything, it’s a little hard for her. So I’m helping her out with the food and stuff like that.

Then, you got to try to keep the neighborhood safe and that’s another thing. I had to fight for my children not to be in the gangs. We went through that, and now it’s a whole new crew of guys coming up. So I got to keep an eye on my grandchildren, too. And they always say, “oh that’s that nosy old lady over there.” It’s a steady fight.

We are blessed to have a food bank that helps us out so much. When I get home from the pantry, I’m really, really happy. All those vegetables! And the bread! The bread is really important to us because decent bread is like $2.99 a loaf, and I can get whole grain bread from the Food Bank. Sometimes we get a little meat. And it all stretches.

I mean, it’s all about stretching your money! My mom grew up in the country, so she taught me to find all kinds of herbs and greens right here in the area. Like bay leaves. So I’ll go to the park or to a few trees I know on Fulton street and gather those. I got a fish tank off the street and I started a little herb garden in that. I’m proud, but not too proud. You got to make do with what’s around you.

But sometimes, it just seems like I’m so tired. And you just have to keep things together. That’s why I get my butt up and go to the pantry and get food for my family. That’s why I’ll pick up clothes off the street and clean them off to give to my family. Because that’s all I can do. When I share the food with my daughter, she appreciates it so much. I tell her, “You take this so that you can put gas in your car and go to those interviews.”

I’m just thankful for the food bank. The different yogurts and juices we get – these are things that are out of your budget.  The vegetables, and the juices and the milk – that keeps my grandchildren from being sickly, and they’re able to go to school. Because we’re pretty strict about that: eating properly and going to school. My grandson has a B+ average now! So that’s really, really good. And he’s in all kinds of groups and activities at school.

It can all be a handful. It takes a lot out of you to be a grandma, but everything just works out. I don’t know what else to tell you. You just can’t give up.


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