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When you have to make choices – gas, lights or food?

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Juanita Reed has a degree from Johnson C. Smith University, is a substitute teacher for children with special needs for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. She is recovering from a recent hip replacement and is on leave.

She came to the Loaves & Fishes pantry at Holy Comforter with one of her four daughters. Kinara, 19, is studying at CPCC and wants to become a nurse. Juanita’s three other daughters are 15, 14 and 8. One has epilepsy.

For Juanita, 45, it’s a matter of deciding what she can spend money on. “Nowadays, you have to choose between food and gas, food and lights,” she says, “and you have to keep the utilities on.”

“Nowadays, you have to choose between food and gas, food and lights,” she says, “and you have to keep the utilities on.”

That’s what has brought her here.

Says Kinara: “People think you’re just trying to get free stuff. But most of us work; most of us are doing the best we can.”

Even though Juanita often isn’t sure where her family’s next meal is coming from, she has trust that “somehow, things are going to work out.”

That’s where Loaves & Fishes comes in. With a week’s worth of groceries Juanita won’t have to wonder or worry about choosing between keeping the lights on or feeding her daughters.