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.  

Feeding Eastern Washington and North Idaho
copyright 2020 Second Harvest. All rights reserved.