In our first month of working with Mama R, we saw her dilute her baby’s formula to make a bottle while we were talking. As we probed, we came to understand that she had accidentally signed her WIC voucher at her home vs in front of the bodega owner. This simple misunderstanding rendered her formula voucher voided for the next two weeks. In an effort to stretch the remaining formula she had, she diluted it. It broke our hearts. In that moment, we entered the formula business.
As we built trust with Mama R, we also came to realize how truly hungry she and her family are. Mama R has so much dignity – it took her 9 months before she confided how great her need is.
How can this happen in our great city to our most vulnerable and youngest citizens? It happens every day. We never intended to be in the food business, but it is hard to read a book and have a safe bedtime routine if you are hungry. Our programs all have a food component and we partner with organizations like Catholic Charities and Freshly to provide food to our families.