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Hunger Beat

52 Stories, 52 Weeks: 'This carries us'

James Sewell, 47, is a U.S. Army Veteran, who receives food from the Chosen Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church food pantry in Bronzeville.
James Sewell’s mother is in a wheelchair and on oxygen. His son is in college, and his niece is about to graduate high school. Living in the same household, he tries to support them, but he’s struggling.

“I’ve got a full-time job, but I don’t make nearly enough to support my family,” he said.

James works in maintenance and is a certified welder. He has a degree. He served in the Army from 1986 to 1993. After his service, he worked in construction, retail and other jobs.

Despite the consistent employment, he never made enough to save much money. So, about a year ago, he started visiting the Chosen Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church food pantry, a Greater Chicago Food Depository agency in the Bronzeville neighborhood, to help make ends meet.

“I started coming to the pantry out of necessity,” James said.

At the pantry, James receives necessities - fresh produce, canned food and meat - that help him feed his mother, son and niece.

“This carries us from one month to the next,” he said. “It’s tough out there, but this pantry is such a blessing.”

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