Jose worked long hours for decades in a factory until he recently retired. When his wife passed away several years ago, he began living with his sister, but her income as a worker in the local box factory and his social security check aren’t enough to make ends meet.
“When I first learned about the pantry, I didn’t want to go because I was scared,” he told us. “But I’ve been working hard my whole life, and we really need the food. My sister’s pay barely covers our rent.”
Jose came to Paterson from Puerto Rico in 1970 and is proud of the life that he’s built for his family. His daughter is a college graduate, and his son is retired from 25 years of service in the U.S. Army Special Forces.
“I love this country. I love my town,” he said.
At the Father English Community Center, he receives much-needed food for himself and his sister, including fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, and nonperishables. He especially likes to use the ingredients to make hearty soups that will last a while.
“I’m a good cook, and I use everything that I get here,” Jose shared. “This is the best program in Paterson. People know that they can always come here and get some food for their families.”