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Hidden Hunger: Elizabeth’s Story

A growing number of college students can’t make ends meet. One local student often has to go without food while studying for exams and holding down a job. For her, Loaves & Fishes is a life saver.

Elizabeth’s family has no idea she is hungry and she wants to keep it that way.

Elizabeth is a full-time student at Central Piedmont Community College. She also has a full-time job and still manages to squeeze in internships for her major. Add to that studying, writing papers, school projects and homework and you can see that Elizabeth works hard every day.

She also works hard to make ends meet, budgeting her paycheck to cover rent, bills, books and school. But on occasion, there isn’t enough left over for food, maybe $20 to last almost two weeks. She admits it’s hard, “…when you’ve got projects and you haven’t eaten in two days and you still have to type out this paper.”

Elizabeth is not the type of person to ask for help. She doesn’t want anyone to know, not even family or friends.

Sadly, her situation is not unique. There are other students, on college campuses here in Charlotte, who also find themselves struggling.

“There’s a lot of people who you’d never think are going through this, students who go full-time and they’re working and they’re doing everything right, getting great grades, but not having food at home, and they’re afraid to ask,” she says. “And you wouldn’t know it until they had a bad day and broke down and they tell you. I’ve had some acquaintances who were living at a hotel room and going to school and didn’t have food.”

Luckily, one of her teachers noticed that something was not right. When Elizabeth explained she had no food, her teacher sent her to Student Services who referred her to Loaves & Fishes.

Coming to the Loaves & Fishes pantry was “…an absolute lifesaver because it’s enough to last me until the next paycheck and no one has to know.” Treated with dignity and kindess, the experience was just like going to a grocery store. She could get what she needed and as she told us, “…get out and live your life.”

Elizabeth wants her life to be a normal as possible. Once this rough patch is behind her she is hopeful there wont’t be a next time.

Fortunately, Loaves & Fishes will be there if she or anyone else needs help making ends meet.