From Nigeria, With Hope

Food Assistance Helps Family Move Forward

Phoebe, at right, learns about food stamp enrollment from Veronica, a member of the Food Bank’s CalFresh Outreach Team.

Difficult choices. We’ve all had to make them in our lives. But for Phoebe, she made one of the most impossible choices: to leave a child behind.

When she emigrated to the United States, Phoebe and her husband had to leave their oldest child in Nigeria with family because she was 21 years old and could not be included with two younger siblings in the family’s immigration application.

This heartbreaking decision was devastating to Phoebe’s family, but meeting her you’d never know it. She is a jubilant woman with an easy laugh.

Rather than dwell on their challenges, Phoebe and her family keep pushing forward. Her husband works as landscaper, while Phoebe studies at a local college and works temporary jobs to help support their family. They are grateful for a neighbor who has offered to sponsor their eldest daughter’s immigration application.

Though they had amassed savings for their journey to America, their nest egg depleted much faster than they anticipated. Money is tight. Really tight. And Phoebe’s family recently faced another difficult choice: pay the bills or eat.

Luckily, Phoebe was visiting the Marin Community Clinic with a friend one day, the same day the Food Bank hosts a weekly food pantry there.

Food Bank Weekly Pantry, Marin Community Clinic

“We came exactly when they were sharing the food,” said Phoebe. “It was like my prayers were answered, and I don’t know how our meals would have happened otherwise.”

Her family now receives groceries every week at the pantry in San Rafael. Knowing that she can worry a little less about feeding her family brings a warm smile to Phoebe’s face: “The most difficult thing since coming to this country has been affording food, but since I have come here to the pantry, there is always something for my family,” she said. “It makes me really very happy.”

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