Jennifer standing in her living room.

“My hope is to stay healthy and live another 10 years, with my cancer, and enjoy life. Which I’m doing presently,” shares Jennifer.

Jennifer is 65 ½ and has chronic leukemia. When she got her diagnosis 17 years ago, she moved from Memphis back to her hometown of Rutland.

“When I became disabled, I needed subsidized housing,” Jennifer explains. She likes her apartment—the closets, being centrally located, and the box of free food delivered to her home.

The building Jennifer lives in is one of the housing communities in Vermont that participates in Support and Services at Home (SASH), a wellness initiative providing free supports to residents on Medicare who live independently. The Vermont Foodbank partners with 45 SASH housing sites, delivering fresh foods that you help provide—like produce, dairy, and eggs—directly to where people live.

“It’s quite an adjustment when you get told [you have cancer],” Jennifer says. “And that’s why I’m hell-bent on eating good—and fresh, whole foods like potatoes and what you deliver here.”

She explains having the food delivered directly to her home is especially helpful. “Because of my skeleton, I’m all broke down, certain days I can’t even go out shopping.”

“I have nothing but good to say about it,” says Jennifer. “I’m going to utilize whatever that box has in it to be able to save on my budget. It really helps out. I can use that extra money toward a phone bill.”

Some of Jennifer’s favorite dishes are lasagna, chowder, and stewed cabbage. She describes how she uses the apples she receives to make applesauce with raisins, cinnamon, and nutmeg that she’ll share with her neighbors. And how she’ll cut up the carrots for snacks, freeze some, and roast some.

“I don’t waste any food if I can help it,” she says. “I’m a wonderful cook, so I look forward to whatever is in there.”

“Who don’t love food?!” Jennifer laughs. “It’s one of the pleasures of life, you know.”

  • After 36 years working as a counselor at a community college, Peter retired to Vermont and started volunteering at the Foodbank. More than nine years and 1,000 shifts later, Peter shares why he keeps showing up.

  • Matthew works at Foodworks food shelf, one of the 353 community organizations that partners with Vermont Foodbank working towards a food-secure vermont.

  • Elysia lives in St. Johnsbury and is a community consultant for Vermont Foodbank. She brings her expertise to help improve services and increase access to food for folks in her community.