|Ruben Garcia (left) and Guy Fones (right) recently received fresh produce for the first time at a Producemobile distribution in Evanston.|
It’s evident that Ruben Garcia and Guy Fones have been best friends for a long time. They joke around; sometimes even finish each others’ sentences. They went to high school together on the Northwest Side of the city about 30 years ago.
“Guy and I, we’re like brothers,” said Ruben.
On a recent Tuesday, they visited a Greater Chicago Food Depository Producemobile distribution in Evanston. Both were receiving food assistance for the first time.
“This will help my family a lot,” Ruben said. “I’m already seeing things we can cook and use all week.”
Ruben worked in loss prevention for 20 years, but was laid off when the Recession started in 2008. His wife works full time and the family is trying to make ends meet to take care of their two young children.
He finally decided to seek assistance because the family has very little left.
“Basically right now we’re just going with the essentials,” Ruben said. “We have to adjust and live with what we have.”
Ruben found out about the Producemobile at his daughter’s school and called Guy to suggest he come too.
“I never thought I’d be in this position,” Guy said. “I’ll use all of this. I need it.”
Guy was an information technology consultant until being laid off in March 2012. Now receiving $120 per month in SNAP benefits, Guy works part-time in cleaning and sales.
“With the vegetables I’ll get here, I can make a big pot of soup and it will last me about a week,” Guy said.
He came to the Producemobile because his SNAP benefits for the month have already run out. He will not have any money for groceries until his Link card is refilled next month.
While Guy’s situation is difficult, he chooses to maintain a positive attitude.
“I’m two months behind on my car payment and my bank account is in the negative,” he said. “But I’m not giving up.”
Ruben shares that outlook.
“The glass is half empty or it’s half full,” Ruben said. “I choose to see it half full.”