"We're keeping a positive attitude"
For the past two years, Amanda Jackson and her 9-year-old daughter, Kylen, have been homeless more often than not.
The two receive $168 per month in SNAP benefits, also known as food stamps. Kylen also is eligible for a small disability payment. Lack of a stable home means those dollars go quickly.
“You buy junk because it’s easy to store and eat,” Amanda says. “You buy things like premade sandwiches, which are easy but expensive.”
Amanda and Kylen recently moved to the Devils Lake area. They had been living in Pennsylvania with Amanda’s cousin. There Amanda found a job packaging air fresheners at a factory.
Then the two cousins started fighting, so Amanda and Kylen moved out. Mother and daughter moved back to North Dakota be closer to extended family. For now, they live with a friend of Amanda’s.
“It’s a stop for us,” she says. “I intend to move into my own place soon.”
And yet it’s not easy. Kylen was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and struggles with emotional outbursts. In the past, Amanda has had trouble keeping a job because she needs to take her daughter to lots of appointments and often gets calls from school to pick her up after an outburst.
It’s just one more reason Amanda visits food pantries as often as she can. Typically, food becomes scarce two-and-a-half weeks into the month.
“I appreciate places like this,” says Amanda during a visit to Hope Center. “I’ve been to the bottom with nothing at all. This food goes a long way for somebody who has nothing.”
Despite the obstacles, Amanda has hope and gratitude. She recently purchased a van and has been able to make a monthly payment. That vehicle could be a first step in helping Amanda and Kylen make it on their own by making it easier to get Kylen to appointments and Amanda to a job.
“We’re keeping a positive attitude,” Amanda says. “What else can you do?”