Travis is only in his early twenties, but he knows a thing or two about food insecurity. Living on his own after aging out of the foster care system, Travis works hard prioritizing his bills and making ends meet.
1. Not A Choice
Travis: I mean I will always eat but I do make choices whether I want to, like, because I be like do I want to go to the corner store to get tasty cakes or Oodles of Noodles instead of the market. Basically where I live at it’s no supermarkets unless you go far. And nobody wants to be walking or catching a bus to go to the supermarket and catch a bus to come back home.
2. Limited Options
Travis: Poverty to me is living your life from paycheck to paycheck and having to rely on the government like to pay certain stuff. Like for food, I rely on the government or my job. I rely on them for healthcare, too with the government. I have to rely on them when I get sick. I don’t live paycheck to paycheck but most of my money goes towards the stuff like bills and stuff. Some of the choices, I mean like I know I have to pay my rent that’s a priority, not a choice.
3. Growing Up Hungry
Travis: When I was in school, it impacted me because I would be hungry. I mean when I made breakfast I was more energized and active and doing my work right. So, when I missed breakfast in school, that would be it. I would have to wait lunch and you know in school, lunch could be 12, lunch could be 1, lunch could be 2, it could be whatever time they want you to go to lunch. It was frustrating because the teacher is asking you questions and in your mind you’re like ‘why the heck are you asking me questions right now?’ You just don’t want to be there, you just want to go home and get something to eat.
4. Committed to Change
Travis: It’s a reading program called reading partners. So you had to like, basically you’re working with kids to up their reading levels. We had them read to us. And then like the supervisors there would like up their levels every week or so, so that they could get harder and harder books. They live in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Baltimore City. So obviously their parents aren’t reading with them or anything or helping them with their homework and they’re going outside and doing what they want. Especially the ones that come in the morning, they would be like do y’all have something to eat.