Living on $1 a Meal: Lorraine’s Story

A true “child of the 60s,” 72-year-old Lorraine Campbell is a warm, upbeat, free-spirited woman with a wealth of life experience. She is a three-time cancer survivor. She’s also a published author, and is currently working on a memoir which she hopes to fund through an Artist Trust Fellowship. Yet despite living life to the fullest, Lorraine can barely afford to eat. She lives on only $710 a month in Supplemental Security Income with $100 a month in food stamps. She can afford to spend $1 on each meal.

Nearly every Friday, rain or shine, Lorraine walks a mile with her small, rolling suitcase to Byrd Barr Place’s Food Bank to pick up a week’s worth of food. “If food banks weren’t around, I’d go hungry,” she said. Lorraine seeks service from several food banks in the neighborhood. She goes once a month to the food bank at Jewish Family Services and stops by Cherry Street Food Bank on her way to the library, but she relies most heavily on Byrd Barr Place.

For Lorraine, nutrition is critically important to her health. Besides skin cancer and painful scoliosis, Lorraine has lived with Hepatitis C for decades, keeping it under control mostly through a diet of fruits and vegetables. She has been a vegetarian for over 50 years and struggles to make 50% of her diet fresh produce—preferably organic—in order to keep her liver healthy and functioning. Without the community support of neighborhood food banks like Byrd Barr Place, Lorraine would have to work even at 72 years old to afford to eat. As it is, she spends many hours each week walking from food bank to food bank to meet her basic nutritional needs. Lorraine appreciates the support and care that Byrd Barr Place’s staff provides. “This place is turning into so much more than just the vegetables,” Lorraine said.

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