Many of my rides are elderly widows. 90% are poverty level. POVERTY. This makes me so sad. And yet MAD.
My special buddy (we now meet at least once a week, with 2-3 phone calls in between, often with no medical appointment at all). She is in a "rent control" apartment ($850/mo) and has been on a list for subsidized housing ($400) for 3 years. Yesterday we went to one of the complexes in another town (the list is a Maui County list ... whichever town's complex has an opening, the waitlist person can say yes or no to that location). The word was ... at least another 18 months to two years. Two years or more at the location where she currently lives (and has 6 years of friends).
When I take her grocery shopping, she buys the least expensive item. She prefers a smaller store but their prices are so much higher. I convinced her to try $5 Friday at Safeway with me. I had her bring her receipt from the prior week to compare. Yes, she was very pleased with the savings! Although they don't carry as many of the local (weird) vegetables that she likes ... so we will try a produce stand for that.
Several organizations provide food for these low income seniors. Outdated canned goods (still edible supposedly) and fresh fruits and vegetables that are on their last leg. But she can usually find a carrot or onion that is usable. She makes $35 over the income amount that would provide food stamps.
Her living complex does provide some social events every week and she catches a ride to church on Sunday. But just knowing she can't go to a movie or browse at Walmart for a new pillow because she gave up her car (and the expenses associated with a car), gets to her every once in awhile. I'm glad I have the time to donate!
One day we just took an hour long drive along the ocean. It's the simple things in life. She was in such a great mood when I returned her to her 500 sq ft home.