The line of people waiting for food from the C-Street Connect pantry at Crimson House wrapped around the building. You could see the struggle, pain and exhaustion on their faces. But, surprisingly, there was also a lot of laughter. Michael was standing toward the front of the line sporting a contagious smile, telling jokes and having fun. As we spoke about his life, I saw in his eyes a blend of heartache and hope. To say Michael has had challenges would be an understatement, but thankfully joy and hope are very hard to lose completely.
"I’ve struggled with depression ever since I was a teenager. It’s just a thing like I don’t feel like I belong. I like to keep to myself and isolate. I used to go fishing, ride bikes for hours, go bowling and camping, but I can’t do that stuff anymore. The good thing is, I do see a light, down the road. I’m doing whatever I can to keep a roof over my head, and I’m looking for work, anything part time. I'm excited because I have an interview coming up. What you get on food stamps, they don’t go the whole month, so a place like Crimson House helps you get through. It’s a blessing in disguise — there’s people that do care!"
My biggest fear is not having a place to stay. I’m too old to be homeless. I’m 56. Back in the 70’s, I was homeless. I used to climb into a Goodwill box and throw clothes all over myself to keep warm. The boxes are more secure now. I can’t go back to that.
Depression is real, and a lot of people deal with it. I just want other people dealing with depression to know everything comes in time, and I’m feeling more optimistic lately. I was starting to lean to the pessimistic side because it has been so long since I’ve caught a break. But when I see that light coming through the clouds — that is God saying it will be okay.”
Story by Christine Temple, Communication Coordinator, Ozarks Food Harvest
Would you like to help? Learn more at ozarksfoodharvest.org.
Michael receives food assistance every month from the Crimson House C-Street Connect food pantry, an agency of Ozarks Food Harvest. The only food bank in southwest Missouri, Ozarks Food Harvest provides food to more than 200 hunger-relief organizations across 28 Ozarks counties. It serves more than 260,000 individuals and distributes more than 14 million meals, annually. Ozarks Food Harvest believes that together, we can Transform Hunger into Hope.