After attending a college that turned out to be a fraud, and a few years spent feeling adrift and in debt, Wendell, age 37, is now working hard to create a positive future for himself. As an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer, he created a youth financial literacy program to help kids learn the skills they need to manage money early in life. The experience has also helped Wendell learn to better manage his own finances. But even with the AmeriCorps position, which pays a small stipend, and two other part-time jobs, he frequently runs out of money by the end of the month. When that happens, he’s glad he can visit Keystone’s Foodmobile.
“Sometimes food is lacking because I don’t make enough money to cover everything, like rent, my car payment, insurance, gas and electricity,” Wendell explains. “So when I run out of food at home, the Foodmobile is the best place to go because I can get milk and eggs and things like that to keep me going until I get paid and can grocery shop again,” he says.
Over the years, Wendell has been to a lot of different food shelves. Some experiences were good. But there were also times when he felt uncomfortable and struggled to get support. The Foodmobile, though, has always been welcoming, especially Foodmobile Manager, Ilon Preston.
“When I first visited the Foodmobile, Ilon was very kind and explained exactly what I could get and how much I could get,” he says. “He even held the bags for me as I did my shopping, and that was really cool. It made me feel comfortable, and I wasn’t made to feel bad because I didn’t have money and ran out of food.”