VA Help Vets

The John J. Pershing VA Medical Center in Poplar Bluff, MO recently partnered with Southeast Missouri Food Bank to offer veterans extra food in their household. A mobile food pantry was held at the center of the outdoor walking track. Although projected for 40, around 55 veterans were served with bags of food containing produce, cereals, and various canned goods.

Among those in the crowd was Charles, a Navy vet from Poplar Bluff. His granddaughter is also a part of the Navy.

Charles. Photo by Justin Mann

Charles heard about the event through Facebook. From time to time, he goes to the Bread Shed, also located in Poplar Bluff, to get some extra food.

“The food bank has helped me out quite a bit,” he said.

His daughter also goes once a month to the mobile food pantry at the Bread Shed.

He was very happy to see all the produce that was provided at this event. His favorite thing to get is fruit and vegetables.

The produce that was provided for the VA came from the Charleston Department of Corrections center. They have two gardens that grow a multitude of fresh produce that the inmates help grow.

Another person who was glad to see the mobile food pantry was Tim. English is a former Army Ranger who served in the Vietnam war.

Tim. Photo by Justin Mann

Fortune hasn’t been on Tim’s side as of late. His house caught fire and burned down causing him to lose everything he owned. He is currently homeless but is staying with his daughter from time to time to get back on his feet.

He rode a bicycle to the center even though his daughter lives about 10 miles away.

While dealing with the loss of his home, Tim has had personal struggles as well. He is in recovery for alcohol and substance abuse and has been clean and sober for two years. He pulled out a coin from his pocket that he was particularly proud of. The coin was from the recovery program he is in marking his two-year sobriety.

He credits the VA for helping him through his dark times.

“I’m truly grateful for everything the VA does for us vets,” he said.

Tim has also started a garden at his daughter’s home that he says is therapeutic for him and helps with his addiction. He also believes that growing things in his garden makes him feel like he’s done something good.

He was very adamant on how important events like mobile food pantries and goes without food sometimes until he can get to a pantry.

“Some of us vet’s die homeless and have nothing. Something like this and the VA is a blessing,” Tim said.

Some kind words by Tim were expressed before he left the event.

“As vets, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” he said.

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