Faces of hunger: Helen Carrafa

November 20, 2012 3:40:18 PM PST
Every week, Philabundance distributes food to 65,000 people at risk of going hungry.

And more than one in six of those in need are senior citizens, people like Helen Carrafa of Pennsville, N.J.

Her friends call her 'Happy, Hugging Helen.'

Every Wednesday, you'll find her at the Philabundance Fresh for All in Penns Grove stocking up on fresh fruits, vegetables and bread, food that she calls a life-saver.

"If I didn't have Philabundance, then I'd probably be out in the street or starving or getting in dumpsters for something to eat," she told me.

Helen worked hard all of her life. She and her husband held jobs, raised five children, then retired on Social Security.

Her husband has passed on, and now Helen lives alone in low-income senior housing. She says the money just doesn't stretch as far as it used to.

"When I was younger," she said, "even though we didn't have as much money, we still got along better than we do today."

The Brown family - Leroy, Sylvia and their son Serg - volunteer at the Philabundance Fresh for All in Glassboro every Saturday. They told me they do it to give back.

"It's a joy to feed the people," said Sylvia.

But at the same time, the Browns find themselves forever surprised by the depth of need.

"It's a large group of people that come out every week," said Serg.

"Yeah, I've seen it grow," added Sylvia.

Helen Carrafa is just grateful there's help out there. And she prides herself on making the most of everything Philabundance gives her.

If you'd like to help families in need this season, click the 6abc Dunkin Donuts holiday food drive page.


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