"....When I was not able to eat fresh produce, I felt like I was dead like the food in a can. Eating from a can is not fun. The food was not tasty. I lost my taste buds and forgot how to cook and my sense of creativity because most of them I get from food pantries are already processed and don't need to add variable things before it goes to the table. The more I ate food from food banks, the deeper my craving toward other things. I started consuming more sweets and snacks whenever it was available." -A Just Food Client
It is one of the comments I heard from a client. Most of the clients we see everyday do not look happy. The situation pushed them to knock our door itself is not pleasant for them and sometimes it needs courage to ask a stranger a favor. Even though it is hard for them to ask food for us they show us gratitude when they get food without charge....what if we have to stick with the same food everyday for months and years? Does it fulfill our soul and body?
We see some clients grabbing things desperately as if there is no more tomorrow. It made us wonder how we can help them to feel safe enough to take little at a time? We don't have everything a store has, but surely there is new or different inventory which comes tomorrow. How can we make it sure for them?
Looking back, we packed the same food items in a bag or a box and distributed them monthly according to the household size of our clients hoping it would release their crisis. But, we found out that the food we served was not different from what our clients were receiving from everywhere else.
An advocacy group tried to live with the food from Just Food. As it turned out, it was really hard for most of them, except a chef who lived all his/her life facing and wondering how to make delicious and nutritious food without much cost.
Starting 2013, we adopted a system called a 'choice based system' to help our clients choose what they want to take home from the shelves we set our in our location. How does it work? The details to be continued another time soon.
Kyung Hwang, Just Food Volunteer