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This story below was written by a sixth grade student at Sampson G. Smith School. He wanted to write a story about the Food Bank for the Scholastic News. Following is Ayush Mukherjee’s story.
I winced, clutching on to my stomach as it kept on roaring for food. As much as it grumbled, I couldn’t satisfy it, no matter what. Because I had no food.
Let me just tell you why I had no food. My dad lost his job a few months ago, and since then, hard times hit my family. At first we were fine, but then when Dad’s money ran out and his credit cards maxed out, we had to rely on the family’s savings. Eventually, the savings ran out, too, and then we had to sell everything we could: Books, the van, the TV, fancy clothes, etc. Now, the money that we got from selling items is gone, too, and there is nothing to feed the family. The family didn’t eat anything for the past 6 days, and my stomach has been growling like crazy since then.
I sighed. Summer vacation was terrible. At least during school, I would get breakfast and lunch. But in summer vacation, I had nothing to eat.
Mom works hard. Really hard. Mainly because if she doesn’t, the house will be sold, and then we will have to live in the streets. But Mom didn’t give up. She never does. She works a 12 hour shift at McDonald’s, and she only gets paid $60 dollars each shift, all which are contributed to the mortgage. My younger brother, Jeremy, walked up to me, “The stomach problem again, eh?” He contemplated out loud.
I nodded. He smiled a sad smile. Jeremy sat down beside me, on the floor. We had sold the couch, and all we had was the cold, hard floor. Jeremy held my hand, and then he looked at me.
“Jessica, you have to hang on there. All of us are suffering, too.” Jeremy reminded me.
“Hang on? Really? That’s all that you can say?” I asked. “We’re all going to die if this continues.”
I put my hands over my face, and cried. I know that Jeremy was trying to help me, but what use was it to hang on? We weren’t going to get food anytime soon. As I sobbed, I heard Jeremy get up and walk away. Slowly.
It was already hard enough that our family consisted of 6 people: My mom, my dad, me, Jeremy, my younger sister Sophia, and my older brother Jake. But hope? Forget about it. Mom’s just going to give all the money to the mortgage guys.
Hours later, Mom trudged in the house, leaving the door open as she flopped down the floor. She looked up at the ceiling, her chest heaving up and down. Jake rushed to her, and helped her up. I could see Mom, drained of all her energy, her skin pale. But even though she was insanely tired, I could see a smile curve up on Mom’s face. “I found us a place that we could get food…” Mom whispered before closing her eyes.
As Jake carried her to the only bed in the house, I just sat there in awe. A place that we could get food? That was impossible! An array of thoughts streamed through my head. How? Why? WHAT? Sophia ran up to me, her hair bouncing up and down with a smile on her face. “Mommy’s home!” She squealed in delight. But as soon as she saw Jake and Jeremy carrying Mom to the bedroom, her expression changed.
“What’s wrong with Mommy?” Sophia asked worriedly.
“She’s just tired,” I replied. “She’ll be all right.” But in my mind, I wasn’t so sure about that. I mean, she was tired, and she needed food to get her energy back. But we had no food. Jeremy stood behind me, watching everything, but when I turned back, he looked away. Suddenly, I remembered what I had done to him. I felt guilty about what I had done. But, as I stood up and walked to Jeremy, he ran away, murmuring under his breath. “I was only trying to help!” I shouted at him. But Jeremy didn’t care.
Slowly, my sorrow turned into anger. I wanted to shout and jump around so I could break something. I was just about to follow Jeremy, but all of a sudden, the groaning in my stomach started again. As I groaned, Dad also came home. But he wasn’t tired. Not at all. He was grim. Just by looking at his face made me cry. Dad didn’t find another job.
Jake came out of the bedroom, and then he saw Dad. He looked at Dad’s expression, and then he shook his head.
“No job again? I’m telling you, let me try look for a job, too!” Jake stated, his voice almost to a yell.
But Dad just shook his head. “I won’t let any child of mine work without a full education!” He protested.
Jake shook his head again, and then walked away.
Then I saw that the sun had started to set. I guess that there was no food tonight…
*The Next Day*
The first thing that I saw when I woke up was the bright rays of light streaming in through the windows. I got up from the floor, and then stretched out my arms. It seemed as if it would be a happy day for a normal person. I wish. When I walked into the area that used to be the living room, I saw that Mom was awake and dancing, humming a happy song that our whole family used to sing. I was surprised at first, because that habit had died long ago, but I was also curious at the same time, because I knew that something good had happened.
“What is it?” was my question.
“Well, I am going to get us some food in a while,” Mom chirped.
For a while, I couldn’t answer back. I was stunned at the words that Mom had said. Food? What? As if reading my thoughts, Mom elaborated on what she was saying. “Do you remember yesterday, when I said I know a place that I can get us some food? Well, that place is the Franklin Township Food Bank! We’re going to get food!” At the sound of the word “food”, every single person in the house rushed over to Mom
“Say what?” Jeremy questioned.
“Really? Are we finally going to get food?” Dad asked, his face a bundle of joy that couldn’t be contained any longer if Mom spoke the truth.
“Wow. I never thought that would happen!” Jake exclaimed.
“FOOD!” Sophia cheered.
Mom explained to everyone about the Food Bank, and then everyone jumped up, ecstatic. Later, we all headed to the Food Bank. Inside, Mom had to fill out a few forms, and then we finally got food!
That night, the family had something that we considered as a feast, even though the food was portion sized. For the first time in what seemed like centuries, the whole family was full from food. All the joyous laughing, all the smiling faces, all of that was new. Energy now flowed throughout the house. A happy type of energy. An energy that brought us all together as one. As I went to sleep, all I could think about the satisfaction that my stomach had. It was so good.
The next day, Dad came in the house. But this time, he had the most jubilant face I had ever seen in my whole life. “Guess what happened today?” Dad asked.
“What?” I replied.
“I GOT A JOB!!!” he shouted in joy. And then he started dancing.
It’s been a month since then, and we’ve been eating the food we need. I, Jeremy, Jake, and Sophia had decided that we shall all contribute at least some of our time to helping the food bank. We know that many other people have been suffering like us, and we want to end that suffering. We don’t want people to experience that pain that our family felt. We know that the Franklin Township Food Bank will be there to help people who need food just as badly as we did.
And I remember the time when I used to think that there was no hope at all, that we were all going to die. But the Franklin Township Food Bank had all changed that. It had brought us the hope we all needed. It gave us that ray of light that made our family come back together. And we will always be thankful for the food bank, because it was always there for us. And it will still be there for us, whenever we need it.”