Ricky has lived in Clay County his whole life. He always loved working with his hands and helping his neighbors, whether that be on a local farm or during his time serving as an EMT.
However, about ten years ago Ricky began having seizures that eventually led to a devastating epilepsy diagnosis.
After receiving this diagnosis, Ricky lost his driver’s license and his ability to work with machinery, as well as treating patients.
“When you are diagnosed with epilepsy, they take your license and everything away from you. How do you work? You don’t,” Ricky shared.
For the past 10 years, Ricky has relied on his wife’s sole income and what he was able to receive in disability benefits to pay their bills.
That is until last year when Ricky’s wife was diagnosed with dementia. Ricky says that her decline in memory and health has been rapid over the last year. “She doesn’t know who I am anymore. We’ve been together for 15 years and she can’t say my name. I love her and I take care of her. She is my life,” he shared.
Now with both Ricky and his wife relying on their disability benefits, their fixed income doesn’t go as far as they need. Rising grocery bills and cost of living expenses make it hard to make ends meet.
“I worked hard my whole life. I never thought I would be in line for food. But that’s the hand I got, I guess. You just have to toughen up and accept help to survive.”
Ricky is not alone. Currently, 1 in 8 people – including 1 in 7 children – are at risk of hunger in Middle and West Tennessee.
That’s why Ricky is so grateful that Mobile Pantries like the one Celina United Methodist Church, a Second Harvest Partner Agency, hosted at Clay County High School bring fresh produce and groceries directly to his community.
“This helps Clay County out a lot,” Ricky grinned.
Thank you, on behalf of Ricky and all of our neighbors, for supporting our mission to provide food for people facing hunger and to work to advance hunger solutions.