There’s a new sight at the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System. Once a month, the Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry will take over the rear end of the parking lot as volunteers set up tables filled with food and a long line forms across the parking lot.
Once a month, veterans can pick up nutritious food, like fresh produce and staples. The onsite assistance makes it easy for veterans to pick up food before or after their appointments.
“It’s the best thing that can happen to any veteran, having to come here to the VA and get all the services that I need in one place,” Nikky, a veteran and Food Bank client, said. “It’s really awesome.”
For Nikky, a disabled veteran, the food she receives helps keep the pantry full at home.
“It goes a long way, especially if you’re on disability like me and you’re not making a whole lot. It helps supplement whatever you have,” Nikky said.
After serving in the military for five years before getting injured, she receives disability benefits, but it’s not always enough for her family. With three growing children and her husband stationed in North Carolina, the food she gets helps keep her family nourished and healthy.
Nikky suffers from back injuries, kidney problems, migraines and mental health conditions and tries stay healthy for her kids. After being away from them, she wants to focus on getting to know her 7, 6, and 3-year old, in addition to finishing her masters in clinical health.
“The long times I had to be away, it was really hard, but now that I’m home, I’m reconnecting with them and I’m learning a lot of things that I missed out on, so it’s kind of fun and exciting at the same time."
After picking up food at the distribution, Nikky was excited to get fresh produce to make her kids nutritious meals and planned to make healthy cranberry smoothies for her children.
Since the distribution began in December, we have served 393 households and distributed 22,971 pounds of nutritious food to veterans in need. We're proud to serve the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country.
“I want to say a big thank you to everybody who is out there supporting us veterans. It’s a really generous gift to have all the veterans come here and be able to get free, nutritious meals, food that they can make,” Nikky said.