The Center for Hunger-Free Communities

Solutions Based on Science and the Human Experience

Joanna C

Joanna C
Active 2008-Present

"I want them to be smart. I want them to finish school. I want them to get good jobs. I want them to know that just because you live in the neighborhood doesn’t mean you have to be in the neighborhood.  It’s just I don’t know where to get help from; I don’t know who to ask for help."

Joanna is thirty and has three children. When Joanna first joined Witnesses to Hunger in 2008, she was living in North Philadelphia and working in a temporary position through a welfare-to-work program, filing stacks of papers for approximately $30 a day. She struggled to make ends meet at that job. “I had to get to work for three days on two tokens because welfare says they couldn’t give me more carfare money. But if it’s at a time when I may have run out of food, of course my priority is to feed my kids before I try to get to work.  I know going to the job is going to pay me in the end, but I can’t let them starve all week long. So I’m going to use that money to feed them first.”

Today, Joanna is living in New Jersey with her mother, daughter, and son. She is working minimum wage at a local convenience store, and has continued to passionately advocate for her community, for fair wages, and for a better life for her children. Joanna is an entrepreneur, and hopes to one day use her talents in crocheting, baking, and beauty care to bring her family to a stable level of economic security.

See Joanna featured in a CNN Money video on raising children in a food-insecure household and in a second CNN Money video on the importance of employment.

See Joanna featured in Philadelphia Weekly and speaking out about the importance of full-day kindergarten in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

3 children: two daughters and a son
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