The Foodbank delivered more than 28,000 pounds of food to veterans in Marion, IL / Photo by Bethany Prange
All his belongings were stacked in a tidy pile at the base of a tree.
His stash of worldly possessions wasn’t large – just a duffel bag, a few shirts and a bag of toiletries.
As we added boxes of food to these supplies, the young man wondered aloud if anyone would steal his stuff before he could come back to retrieve it.
I looked around, convincing myself that surely, no one would steal from a homeless veteran.
“Homeless veteran – those are two words that shouldn’t go together,” said Steve, a veteran living at the Marion VA Medical Center in Marion, Illinois.
Steve helped me carry boxes of food across the grounds of the center to this tree, a temporary rest area for one homeless vet.
Throughout the day Steve and I helped other volunteers carry boxes of food for the veterans who had no car, and in some cases, no permanent home.
This day was a chance for veterans in need to get the things they needed, from medical care and counseling to food and clothing.
The Foodbank handed out 28,000 pounds of food to nearly 150 veterans and their families.
While most veterans were able to pick up their much-needed food in a vehicle, some came through the line in wheelchairs or motorized scooters. Others walked through the line, carrying armloads of food to a nearby tree.
From there, I couldn’t be sure where these proud men and women would go. Would friends pick them up? Could they catch a ride to a shelter?
All I knew for certain was that these men and women would have food to eat, at least for awhile.
To me, it didn’t seem like enough.
As these veterans expressed their gratitude for the food, we thanked them for their service, wishing we could do more.
Bethany Prange is the communications coordinator at the St. Louis Area Foodbank