1. My dad left us when I was five and my brother, four. My mom was working as a nurse, so we didn’t see her too often. When she’d come home, she’d always have some sort of food for us, to make sure we’d never go hungry at night.
– Lisa, 28
2. When I was growing up, my parents took me to Burger King and they’d watch me eat — there was this deal, I forget what it was, but you got two burgers for the price of one. I’d get one and my parents would share the other one.
– Tommy, 31
3. I remember I’d always wanted a pet. We were really poor growing up, so financially, it wasn’t going to work out. But I remember one day, after school, I came home to our apartment, and there was a cage in the corner of the living room. It was a hamster. My mom had managed to get me a hamster for free from someone that was giving it away. She told me to take good care of it, but me being an idiot 10-year-old boy, didn’t clean the cage often, and I ended up giving him up to a pet store for “store credit.”
– Peter, 27
4. When we’d go out to dinner, my brother and I would share a plate. The diner we’d always go to never gave us an even amount of sausage. They always came in threes, so we’d fight for the last one, and sometimes we’d split it…my mom always ended up giving us one of hers, claiming she was always full.
– Dan, 30
5. There was a point in my childhood when all I ate was peanut butter and bread. This happened for like a week. I remember saying to my mom, “I want something else, I hate peanut butter.” I remember her smiling and she told me to get dressed. We went out and got McDonalds, but she didn’t get anything. I asked her if she was hungry, and she shook her head. “Watching you eat is enough for me.” I didn’t complain about what we ate after that.
– Kiera, 31
6. I never asked for anything while growing up. I knew we were poor. The clothes I got were from the thrift store, and sometimes hand-me-downs from our cousins. My parents worked so hard, but got so little in return. I came up with ways to try and earn income, but being the 12-year-old kid I was, I wasn’t going to make an additional $25,000 to add to our income. One day, though, my dad brought me a set of Legos. He knew I wanted them — I’d talk about my friends having them and draw Lego buildings. I cried. Really hard. I don’t know how he did it, but he did, and I’m never going to forget their sacrifice.
– Charlie, 25
7. My mom, she killed a cockroach in my room for me.
– Harold, 35