Meet Donald, 77-year-old EatSF participant who has endured many trials in his lifetime. Stress is not foreign to Donald – who often struggles to make ends meet. Donald has lived in San Francisco for over 40 years and worked the majority of those years as a truck or bus driver. He is now retired and receives SSI benefits of approximately $1000 a month. After paying rent, student loans, car insurance, and other needs, Donald estimates that he has roughly $20 a month left to spend on food. “I hardly ever buy food,” explains Donald, “and if it’s not the cheapest I’ve ever seen I don’t buy it. And I just do without it.” The majority of his food comes from programs like Meals on Wheels. He expresses his gratitude for these programs, but explains how they do not have the bandwidth to provide participants with many fresh fruits and vegetables. “So I am very happy to have the fruits and vegetables that EatSF gives because it’s a chance to really eat things I couldn’t before,” he explains.
The stress Donald has endured has also taken a toll on his health. He takes medication for both his high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation, but he boasts of the health improvements he has observed from consuming more fruits and vegetables. “My blood pressure is good, I’m not eating salt, I’m not eating other things I was eating previously. It’s made a big difference in my health. Medications that I take to keep me on course are working very well with the changes in my diet and I couldn’t praise it more.”
Often times consuming certain foods contributes to stress. Donald mentions how healthier foods like fruits and vegetables cause his body less stress and even enable him to sleep better at night. Consciously, he knows he is treating his body better when he eats fruits and vegetables and as a result, his body feels more relaxed. He explains his experience with EatSF as a, “better state of feeling.”
Not only is EatSF helping Donald double his food budget each month, but it is contributing to a better state of mind and improved health. While stress can take a toll on health, EatSF vouchers help take some of that stress off Donald’s plate.