Feeding Mind, Body, and Spirit: Meet Nadine B. of East Baltimore
It was a chilly Thursday morning in late March when Nadine B. visited The Door food pantry on North Chester Street in East Baltimore. Nadine was picking up food after an appointment with her doctor.
The years of the pandemic raging through Baltimore left her with heartbreak and loss, but also brought back happy childhood memories of neighbors sharing food with those in need.
“I’ve lost a lot of family members and friends,” she said. “It takes me back to when I was a child in the inner city where food was a lot scarcer. When your neighbor up the street couldn’t get out or had health issues, you took what you had and shared with them. To me the food bank is that neighborhood, that village I grew up in. It lets me know that I’m not alone — lets me know that people still care for people.”
She pulled her coat tighter against the lingering chill. “And it don’t matter where you come from because I’ve seen people that had six-digit figures before this thing, now they’re in the line, too. It doesn’t discriminate. I’m so grateful they were there during that time because a lot of days when you went in stores, it was so strange. The first time I went in the store and saw nothing on the shelves — no bread or anything — it was really scary. And then to have to stand in line … it was frightening.”
The Human Cost of Rising Food Prices
Even as the pandemic wanes, spiraling food costs have made Nadine’s life harder.
“Prices are really going up. Constantly. A lot of times you don’t know whether to buy meats or vegetables because vegetables are just as high as meat.”
And Nadine is not alone. According to recent U.S. Census Household Pulse Survey data for Maryland, nearly 32% of Marylanders are finding it difficult to cover usual household expenses. But as she struggles to afford food, Nadine finds a silver lining.
“I’m learning to eat a lot more vegetables and fruits. I grew up in a house where my mom and dad made sure we had a lot of fruits and vegetables. And that’s all that matters — I got a vegetable and a fruit,” she said, laughing. “I’m all right!”
Nodding toward the fruit cups, orange juice, and milk on the table prepared by The Door Food Pantry’s volunteers, she continued. “If nothing else comes out of this, a lot of the children will eat healthier because now they’re getting fresh fruits and vegetables. They’re being introduced to something they weren’t introduced to, except in school. Staying home, a lot of them got introduced to fruits and vegetables. That’s the beauty of it — teaching the next generation.”
Feeding Mind, Body, and Spirit
Nadine paused to smile at a mother with two young children waiting in line.
“When you’re hungry, your mind is all over the place. When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, your mind goes every which way. Because all you want is to eat.”
“You need to feed the body, the mind, and the spirit,” she added. “A hungry body can’t do nothing but disintegrate.”
We Need Your Help
The lingering effects of the pandemic, including spiraling food prices and a rise in inflation across all sectors of the Maryland economy, continue to make it difficult for people to put food on the table. Please help us support neighbors like Nadine by donating now.