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Food insecurity is a reality even for many middle-class families, Plano nonprofit says



PLANO, TX – A former business executive and single mom is among the many North Texas residents who have had their lives overturned by the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am Kristina Hawkins and I am the new face of hunger,” Hawkins says in a recent video produced by Minnie’s Food Pantry.

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The Plano nonprofit wrote in a description of the video that Hawkins’ story shows how the pandemic has wreaked havoc on families’ livelihoods, “no matter who you are, where you come from, how much money you made in the past.” Even “middle to upper-class families” have been forced to rely on food pantries in the last year, according to Minnie’s, which has reported throughout the pandemic that it is seeing more requests for assistance and fewer donations.

In the video, Hawkins details a resume that includes stints as a vice president at Norwegian Cruise Lines and as a senior director for the restaurant chain TGI Fridays. She said she was laid off from her corporate job in March of last year, receiving two weeks’ severance pay.

Hawkins said she applied to hundreds of jobs and was often told that she was overqualified.

“One of the darkest points has been the fact that I feel hopeless about the control that I have over my life,” Hawkins said in the video. “I’m at the point where I could lose my house, I could get my car repossessed. My electricity has been shut off several times.”

Minnie’s Food Pantry provided Hawkins with money to cover three months’ worth of car payments and two months of electricity and internet service.

Since recording the video, Hawkins has also found gainful employment, according to a statement from the food pantry.

Hawkins said the experience had been humbling. “You just think that you would never find yourself in this position,” she said in the video.