Carl Goldston is happy this Saturday morning. He is delivering food to Kuehner House, an affordable housing apartment complex for very-low-income seniors (age 60 and over) managed by the nonprofit SOME (So Others Might Eat) in Washington. It’s the holiday season, so there is extra excitement. And he gets to visit his three friends and former roommates, Greg, Fred and David.
The four of them had lived together at another apartment complex. At 59, Goldston is the only one still living there. His friends moved to Kuehner House when they turned 60, and Goldston is looking forward to seeing them today.
Goldston and I meet in the Kuehner House community room, where hundreds of plastic bins, boxes and bags of canned food and dry goods rim the space. Dozens of volunteers lift the bins and boxes onto wheeled carts to deliver to residents or to load into their SUVs for delivery to low-income and homebound older adults.
Goldston is friendly, chatty and greets everyone by name. “This gives me something to do,” he says, wheeling our food-laden cart toward the elevator.
We arrive on the third floor and head for Greg’s unit. “Start on the top floor and the unit farthest from the elevator,” Goldston instructs me. He is wearing an olive wood cross that Greg gave him several years ago. They greet each other warmly. As Goldston moves the boxes off of the cart, my job is to get signatures and try to keep up with him. Now he is now chatting with Fred, and David is a few doors away.
Most clients are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and they rely on family and friends for groceries. The monthly food delivery is meant to be a supplement, according to Jennifer Page, SOME’s volunteer coordinator for food delivery. “A lot of the folks we serve have to make choices on spending between housing and medicine, or heat or food,” she says. “It’s hard. The majority of them live on about $700 per month. They are folks who have lived long and hard lives.”
Goldston is part of this population, yet his spirit is unflappable. “It’s all about helping other people,” he tells me as we deliver our last box. “I have a good life.”
Photo: Jane Hess Collins
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