It’s Help for Those Who Help
Ask anyone about Rosalia Rodriguez and they’ll tell you the Seattle resident is a caretaker. She’s the person that makes sure everyone is provided for—from a job helping people with disabilities to her mom to her siblings to people in her community. That is until medical issues stopped her from working full-time and made it challenging for the 54-year-old to even address her own concerns—namely stocking up on food for a special diet that will ensure a speedy recovery.
Rodriguez is among those who have turned to the United Way of King County-sponsored Food Security Assistance Program to meet their dietary needs. Through the program, we are working with more than two dozen community organizations (most of which comprise people from the neighborhoods they serve) to provide low-income families better access to food resources.
Rodriguez is a frequent visitor to the Urban Fresh Food Collective, a grassroots organization in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood that provides free, fresh and healthy food by mobilizing its neighborhood’s resources—including farms, businesses and community members.
“I’ve had surgery and I’m still recovering well,” said Rodriguez, “but this program has helped me a lot in that I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to eat tomorrow.
“They give us fish, chicken, eggs and vegetables, so you have your protein and vegetables,” Rodriguez added. “Also, they give us fruit, which is good for my diet.”
Her diet does not allow for spicy food or special foods that she is accustomed to, but items she receives at the Urban Fresh Food Collective are varied enough to allow her to eat healthy with taste. “I can cook boiled chicken with a side of vegetables, and I can also make chicken in the oven,” said Rodriguez. “My diet is also milk and cheese, so this is perfect.”
The Urban Fresh Food Collective also stocks up on pain medications, but director Monica Perez said that meds are distributed only in emergencies.
“I’m so glad I found this program because it’s a lot of help for me and a lot of other people.”Rosalina Rodriguez, a frequent visitor to the Urban Fresh Food Collective
“Believe it or not there are people who have tooth pain and they ask for medicine, and sometimes people cannot afford some pills,” said Perez, who added that the collective also supplies diapers for babies and adults.
The Urban Fresh Food Collective understands it must meet people at the point of need, often with more than just food. It is that caregiving approach that Rodriguez has embodied, as she says, “It’s in my heart.”
She is grateful to have found an organization that also seeks to care for others in need. “I’m so glad I found this program,” Rodriguez said, “because it’s a lot of help for me and a lot of other people.”