Helen’s story was featured in the 2016 Hunger Report in our feature on how energy poverty was affecting food bank clients across the province. Here is an excerpt from her story:

My name is Helen and I am 80 years old. I receive CPP and OAS, but have a really hard time paying for rent, utilities, and food in a single month. I can usually pay for two, but to do all three is impossible sometimes. I feel like my hydro, gas, and water bills increase every month. Why are utilities so expensive?

I am grateful for my local food bank, Project Share, and its utility assistance program that is here to help so many people in need.

Without their help, I would not know what to do. They have helped me several times, when I did not know where to turn. The staff is so understanding and always make sure I don’t feel embarrassed – but it would make me feel so much better, if I could manage without that help.

I am not the only person who feels this way.

“Without their help, I would not know what to do.”

When I sit in the waiting area and hear comments from the others waiting for their food or utility assistance, it is always the same. Some talk about the job they are hoping to get, some talk about ways they are trying to make things better. The other day I heard someone say, “If you have only bread and pour milk over it, it’s like cereal.”

People are trying, but it’s extremely difficult not to get down during this time of year, especially with winter just around the corner, and hydro and heating bills that are already far more than I can afford.

I thank God every day for my local food bank. I don’t know what I would do without their help.

Submitted by the Project SHARE Food Bank as a part of the 25 Years of Changing Lives Gallery.