Authors: Corinn Bryant & Claire Hurd

The Fourth of July is nearly here! Independence Day commemorates America’s beginning. We celebrate with barbecues, fireworks, picnics, reunions, parades, concerts, and baseball games. Amidst the celebration, it is important we think of those who make it possible for us to celebrate such a holiday.  
It is an unfortunate reality that those who currently serve or have previously served our country can face hunger. As our service men and women navigate the difficulties of military life including frequent moves, deployment, adjustment to civilian life, mental health, or physical ailments, hunger shouldn’t be part of the equation.    
There are veterans across our community, like Jeff, a U.S. Army veteran who was a part of the 13 Bravo (Cannon crewmember) where he operated a 155 self-propelled “paladin”. We met him on June 2nd, at the Spokane Veteran’s Center Mobile Market. He said he knew he wanted to be in the Army and his stepdad served in the Marines. He served from 1986 until 1997, then reenlisted for three tours to Iraq from 2003-2012: Desert Storm and Operation Iraq. After Iraq, he served four years with the WA National Guard doing transportation. He expressed his gratitude for the Vet Center- they helped him get 100% disability after retiring and that he’s very thankful for the military. Jeff was able to get the resources he needed to sustain himself and give back to those who are seeking a similar kind of assistance for themselves.
You can help veterans in our community receive the meals and hope they need with a few simple steps.  

Say “Thank you” 

Perhaps the most simple and meaningful way to show your support for a veteran is to express your thanks for their service. You may not know the independent struggles of each veteran you meet, but even a small act of kindness can brighten their day.  

Educate Yourself

One of the best ways to help combat a problem like veterans facing hunger is to do your research to better understand the issues veterans face. Of the households Second Harvest, and the rest of the Feeding America Network, serves, one in five have at least one member who has served in the U.S. military. We are making outreaches to veterans through mobile markets like the one where we met Jeff.  
Check out these links to learn more:  
Veterans of Foreign Wars – Hunger Among Veterans is a Growing Concern
Washington Post – Why So Many Veterans Go Hungry

Volunteer With Your Local Food Bank

For a more direct impact on serving those facing food insecurity in your neighborhood, donate your time at a local food bank. To find a food bank near you, go to our website.
You can also volunteer with Second Harvest here.
We hope you’ll take inspiration from this post to support our local veterans both this weekend and throughout the year. Our veterans do so much for us both within and outside our borders. It is important we support them however we can when given the opportunity. Let’s honor them this weekend by raising awareness of the hardships they face and making a commitment to take action so that no veteran goes hungry.  
How to Host a Fundraiser – September 22

How to Host a Fundraiser – September 22

Looking for a fun way to celebrate your birthday, company event or holiday? Hosting a fundraiser for Second Harvest is easy and makes an impact. You can raise funds online or host a food drive in person. We’ll give you the tools to get set up, share your event and start collecting. Every dollar donated makes a difference for neighbors experiencing food insecurity.

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Serving Those Who Serve Our Country – September 15

Serving Those Who Serve Our Country – September 15

Steve and his wife both retired from the Army, and he also spent time as a civil engineer in the Navy. His career has been a life of service to our country. Today, he is a member of the civilian workforce at Fairchild Air Force Base.

With economics the way they are today, Steve accesses Second Harvest Mobile Market free food distributions on base.

Naturally cheery, Steve manages a smile even when he explains “Times are hard.” Simultaneously, he proudly adds, “We have two kids, 13 and 14. They eat like crazy and are growing like mad.”

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Back to School with Bite2Go – September 8

Back to School with Bite2Go – September 8

Bite2Go is a weekend food program for students facing chronic food shortages at home. Bite2Go gives children access to a mix of nutritious, nonperishable and ready-to-eat meals and snacks for the weekend, helping kids return to school ready to learn on Mondays. At the heart of the program is the adoptive organization. Bite2Go relies on businesses, churches and civic groups to “adopt” a school, and through that engagement and funding model, provide students with food for the weekends through the school year.

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