Food for Thought Blog

The Faces of Hunger: Richard’s story

September 21st, 2023Awareness, Stories

Everyone has a story—and by sharing stories about food insecurity in Waterloo region, we hope to raise awareness and educate our community that hunger can happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. This is Richard’s story.

Richard Mitchell.

Through his former work as a youth social worker, Richard Mitchell thought he was aware of the many resources available in the community.

But it wasn’t until he found himself in need of emergency food assistance that he realized how much help the Community Food Assistance Network really offers.

“It started with an unpleasant separation,” he explains. “I was diagnosed with PTSD and severe anxiety, along with crippling depression. I was denied long-term disability through my employer at the time and thrown into the social services arena. I applied for Ontario Works and was immediately introduced to the emergency food assistance program.”

Richard accessed the Network until he was approved for disability support. With support, he began to heal and feel better, and chose to take a Public Relations diploma program at Conestoga College. While attending school, he was relieved that he would once again have access to food assistance through the Student Nutritional Access Program at the college. Richard graduated with honours and is now the owner and operator of a small public relations business.

As a father of two children full-time and three children part-time, Richard can’t express enough just how grateful he was to access fresh, nutritious food, while going through a rough patch in his life.

“Quite simply, as an adult student and father… without your [Network] services, I don’t know where I or my children would be,” he says.