A solid smile covers the prickly anxiety Adrianna feels each time she steps into the growing crowd outside of New York City’s Hopeline. Just like 23% of the clients the Feeding America network serves, Adriana is a college-educated individual trying to do the best she can for her family. Twelve years have lapsed since her ailing 83-year-old mother first moved in with the former embalmer. Today, Adriana struggles to take care of both herself and her mother after losing her job three years ago when the company she worked for moved to Connecticut. As she searches for a similar job, her life is consumed by the numerous odd jobs she must take in order to tend to her mother’s needs.
“I want to go back to my profession because I went to college for three and a half years and I worked very hard. I don’t think it’s fair that I have to come through the food line if I’m willing to work,” she says somberly of her position. Adriana refuses to go on welfare, seeing herself as a healthy and educated individual who just doesn’t need the program. It’s why coming to the food pantry caused her a great deal of inner turmoil. “You have to do what you have to do,” she states as a matter of fact, “and that is why I am here.”
This new chapter of her life doesn’t define the person Adriana knows that she can become. She spends most of her days searching for new jobs in her field, diligently fighting an uphill battle. “When you send in an application for a job, the job is there, but there are so many other people waiting in line for that job…. I never thought I would have to be in this position, but if it happens to me, it can happen to anyone.”
The disappointing job climate does not dismantle Adriana’s fortuitous demeanor. She knows she can get her family out of its rocky predicament, and maintains that, “This is just a bad patch I am going through right now, but I will get back on me feet.”
Find out more about the Food Bank For New York City and City Harvest.