My name’s Kim. I’m a psychiatric medical assistant at CARES Community Health. Working in the psychiatric department, I have a lot of mentally-ill patients that can’t necessarily get to the food banks or some people are too ill to walk or they’re in a wheelchair and they can’t get transportation. They don’t have anybody to help them. They’re scared to go out of their homes or even walk down the street, so just getting to somewhere where they can get food is an issue, let alone having enough money.
I think most people have never been in this situation where they’ve been hungry and they just don’t understand that it’s hard for people to get food and they can’t afford it and they’re hungry and they don’t know what to do to get themselves out of the situations that they’re in. I think that’s really prevalent with a lot of our mentally ill patients, too. They’re misjudged by their mental health. They can appear to be like homeless on the streets, and really they’re not. They just don’t have the access to help themselves to get food. A lot of people misjudge that.
The programs are great in that they do help the people, but they don’t give them necessarily enough to last for the whole month. I think that food costs are too high to actually be able to stretch that money for the whole month.
"Working in the psychiatric department I have a lot of mentally ill patients that can’t necessarily get to the food banks."
- Kim Ruiz