Program feeds veterans in need

The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank provides nearly 650,000 meals to people in need each week. Twenty-six percent of Midstate households receiving food assistance have at least one member who has served in the military.

Now, the food bank has come up with another way to help those heroes.

“What we do is provide good healthy food for those families when they’re in need,” said Joe Arthur, the food bank’s executive director. Joe Arthur said.

Arthur says it’s not always easy for veterans to get back on their feet when they return home. He says it’s important we give back to them since they’ve already given so much for us.

“Some of our veterans are also struggling to make ends meet,” he said, “It’s a difficult job environment. It’s a little bit harder for some of our veterans, particularly if they’re getting services for other reasons. They may not have enough financial means to grocery shop.”

Pennsylvania Adjutant General Tony Carrelli stopped by the food bank to learn more about the program. He even brought some co-workers to help pack boxes. He says the National Guard often delivers food to needy communities, and now they get to help their own.

“Some of our World War II veterans are in their 90’s now and some of them have been retired for years,” Carrelli said, “Their health prohibits them from having any other type of job, so many of them are on some sort of pension or social security. This is a great program to help service their needs as well.”

One issue surrounding helping vets is pride. Many don’t want to admit they need help, which is why this program is so beneficial. Instead of having to come to the food bank, MilitaryShare distributions take place where veterans already gather, like armories and the VFW.

“That way, the veterans feel that camaraderie in relation to having to accept food,” Deputy Adjutant General Eric Weller said. “If they need it, it’s better that it comes from a veterans organization than anywhere else. I think it’s fantastic the way they have their distribution center set up.”

“They do really great work out here and it’s important work,” Carrelli said. “We’re just happy to do our little part.”

The MilitaryShare program is funded by donations. If you don’t have money to spare, you can always lend some of your time and volunteer.

For more information on how to get involved, visit http://www.centralpafoodbank.org/Partner-Agencies/Our-Food-Distribution-Programs/MilitaryShare

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