Twelve years ago, Todd was making more than $25 an hour doing construction and was planning to buy a house when back problems left him out of a job. “I went from having everything to homeless,” Todd said. “It’s unbelievable how fast it happens.”
It took several years for Todd to receive disability assistance, and almost half of what he now receives is used to pay rent for his low-income apartment. Todd visits the Freedom Center Food Pantry in Appleton and waits for a volunteer to call him into the shopping area for groceries to help get him through the week. Food donations at the pantry were scarce until they connected with Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, which provides about 90 percent of its stock. The food bank also provides pantries with capacity-building opportunities through technical workshops and grant programs so they can help more people like Todd.
“How do you survive with no income for three years if you’re disabled?” Todd said. “It’s a nightmare, it really is—and places like this, they are a godsend.”