Food bank offers help to veterans, active-duty military families struggling with food insecurity

SAN JACINTO, Calif. (KABC) -- The daily struggle to make ends meet is very real for many veterans. It can also be tough for active military families.

At the Bread Basket Food Bank in San Jacinto, they distribute boxes of food to those who are most in need. And many of those who struggle are U.S. military vets.

"We're delivering food boxes to between 20 and 30 homebound families, elderly home-bounds who just can't get out, and need help with shopping," said volunteer Donavan Walker.

But Walker, who works with the VFW in San Jacinto, says what might be surprising to some is the fact that the need isn't only for veterans on fixed income; it's also for active military families.

"A lot of our young families have small children, multiple kids in the household, you have a mom who's getting the kids to school, husband is deployed or whatever, and it's hard when you work and you're in a single parent unit like that when the loved one is deployed," said Walker.

UCLA offers on-campus services for more than 1,000 veterans
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"When I got to college, I walked through the door and was like I don't even know where to start." Veterans attending UCLA are hands-on in creating a support system for other vets heading to the university.

"Feeding America" estimates there are as many as 160,000 active duty military members who have a hard time putting food on the table every day.

"Just the nature of the military, where they're stationed temporarily for 1-3 years in different areas, that doesn't always allow for the spouse to obtain employment, because employers don't want to higher them on a temporary basis, so often their limited to one source of income in a multi-family household, so that plays a factor," said Stephanie Otero of "Feeding America." "Also there a mental health issues with military families, from anxiety to depression, to PTSD and many don't seek assistance because that pride comes into play."

"Our military does so much for us, so if we can help in any way, that's what it's about," said food bank manager Anthony Pierre.
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