My name is Cindy Davis, and I’m the psychiatric nurse at CARES Community Clinic and I am here because I am a huge advocate of the homeless mentally ill. When you’re severely mentally ill, you don’t even remember to eat sometimes. You know, when you see them, their hygiene’s poor; they live on the streets, and food is one of their last priorities. So access to food is huge, especially when they have psychiatric medications—you need to take food with your medications.
It is amazing, some other people I see, they get public assistance. They get $185 a month, and then they get $220 a month in food stamps, so that’s $390 a month total to survive. And what can you get with that? Nothing.
The food banks are great, but sometimes our patients can barely make it there because they have post-traumatic stress disorder or they’re agoraphobic. You know, a lot of times we have patients that have an appointment but they wait in their car and we have to go out and get them for the appointments or wait outside. We have to go out and get them because they can’t be in crowds. They could never make it down to the food bank, so those food baskets from River City Food Bank are essential.
The food baskets, they’re really great. I’m really surprised to look in them. They’ve got a variety of peanut butter, juice, a lot of times fruit, wheat bread, canned food but canned healthy food. They’re excellent. They’ve really put together a nutritious basket for them, and I know that a lot of people unfortunately depend on it, especially towards the end of the month. You know, I’m sure a lot of people get disgusted by the people that they see on the streets. I think that those are the silent sufferers and those are the people that need a voice.
"The food banks are great, but sometimes our patients can barely make it there because they have post-traumatic stress disorder or they’re agoraphobic."
- Cindy Davis