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  • Writer's pictureWaste Not

A Plateful of Hope: Eli's Story of Overcoming Food Insecurity

Updated: Jan 4

Food is a basic necessity. But if you’re like me, it means so much more than fuel for life. Food is joy, memories, connection …


To Eli, food is security. That’s because he grew up in an abusive home where food was scarce. Eli entered the foster system at age 8 and stockpiled food whenever he could.


Thanks to generous people like you, Waste Not delivers rescued meals to Jose's Closet, a nonprofit that supports foster families, including the one that adopted Eli when he was 17.


A boy that age usually eats you out of house and home. But Eli was nervous at dinner time. Eating a home-cooked meal as a family was new to him, and he’d often lose his appetite.

Later, he’d sneak into the kitchen to take snacks back to his room.


Eli hugging his foster mom, Wendy.
Eli hugging his foster mom, Wendy.

Hoarding food can make children with trauma feel secure, but it’s not healthy. Eli says his adoptive mom was the first adult to show concern about his habit, involve him in planning meals, and assure him there would always be enough.


Still, Eli was set on doing things his way. At 18, he dropped out of high school, moved out, and pushed his adoptive parents away …


Eli is a grown man now, with a new appreciation for family meals. After years on his own, he recently reunited with his adoptive parents because his girlfriend is expecting their first child, a boy! He’s determined to give his son the secure start he never had.


Eli's story and his insecurity about food though, is not unusual.


1 in 10 Arizonans are struggling to find food for their next meal. Across the Valley, high grocery and rent prices are breaking people's budgets. And due to the influx of people seeking help to make ends meet, our nonprofit agencies are seeing a need for more food in the coming months.


This is why we need you.


Will you help people like Eli, today? Click here to give today.

 

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