It’s that time of year again. I and my employees are on the cusp of the summer layoff and I’m worried.
Not for me and my family. We’ve been through periods of little pay. We survived off of less than $1,000 a month before and my husband makes more than that now.
I worry about my employees. I worry about what their bank accounts are looking like; what bills are they going to have to let “float”. I worry about their kids. I pray that they don’t hit a growth spurt before we all get back to work. I pray that they don’t get injured and need ER visits. I pray that they have enough food to fill their bellies at night. The latter also goes out to my elderly employees. I was able to help a few of them before the Christmas layoff. I raised money from my Facebook friends list to buy 3 fifty dollar gift cards. One went to an elderly employee, one to a single mom, and one to a new hire that just got a new apartment. I’m not in a position to do that for the summer layoff and you can only hit friends and family up so many times a year before they get jaded.
I remember there was a brief time in my childhood when food wasn’t so easily available in our house. I remember being dropped off with the Salvation Army for babysitting while my dad did odd jobs to bring in cash. His side hustle game was strong. I also remember eating at a soup kitchen. The memory of that time that stands out the most with me was sneaking into our kitchen at night and covering a piece of white bread with sugar. The sugar came out of a packet, like the ones at gas stations and restaurants. I devoured that piece of bread under my bed with tears in my eyes because that was the only way to keep the belly aches away. I don’t know where I got the idea to do that, but I remember it wasn’t the first time or the last. I also felt guilty because I know my sisters were hungry too, that’s why I hid.
Food insecurity is real, it’s so real. It goes beyond hunger. It’s a lifelong state of mind because once you have experienced it, you will go to extreme measures to not go through it again.
As a married adult, I did go through a period of food insecurity again… but my son’s belly was always full (at the time it was just Michael). My kids have not felt that need to hide and sneak food. They have been blessed. Not a lot of kids are these days.
So, I decided to share how my family gets through these periods of layoff and keep our bellies full.
This is our survival mode.
Monday we start with the most important meal of the day.