By Nina Lakhani and Aliya Uteuova, The Guardian, April 28, 2021
Alyson Graham raised three children by juggling multiple jobs and making tough choices about what they should go without. For more than 20 years, she made weekly visits to a food pantry, before going to the store to supplement the free groceries using food stamps and whatever money she had left after paying rent and bills.
It was a struggle to put nutritious food on the table.
“I always had two jobs when my kids were growing up, but still couldn’t make ends meet,” said Graham, 51, who worked minimum-wage jobs in call centres, bars and restaurants in Houston. “I couldn’t let the lights or water go off, and there were always other expenses like shoes and books, so I relied on food pantries and frozen food like chicken nuggets to fill them up. The system is so skewed, it’s almost impossible.”