September 20, 2019

Food insecurity continues for displaced veterans: Windham Veterans Center still taking food donations

By Dave Tanguay

Food Insecurity among the homeless and displaced Veterans in the Portland area continues to be a concern of the American Legion Field-Allen Post in Windham.  For the Past two plus years the Legion Post has been collecting food items in support of the Portland Vet Center, Homeless Vet Food Pantry, a small, but crucial support system for many local homeless and food insecure veterans.

At the Windham Vet Center, as part of the collection effort, a member of the Eagle Riders #4131 out of New Gloucester, Greg Damon, stopped by and dropped food items collected by the Eagle Riders in Gray and New Gloucester in support of the program. The Legion Post appreciates this support from organizations like the riders.

Chuck Whynot and Greg Damon
The Portland Veterans Center provides an array of support for local veterans in need in addition to the food pantry.

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a female Marine Corps vet who told me about a bad time recently in her life. She agreed to tell her story to highlight the work at the Center and identify the help she received.

To keep the story short, she was in need of medical and housing help and was facing food insecurity due to her inability to work.  These issues were compounded by issues with PTSD. Her salvation was in seeking help from the Portland Veterans Center. She was assisted with, medical referrals, support for her rental and help with her food insecurity due to the presence of the Homeless Vet Food Pantry staffed by our own team of Legion Post 148 members.

Chuck Whynot and Bill Cassidy are two of these Post members who work tirelessly in collecting, sorting and the distributing the food items each week. Over the last two plus years, they have delivered almost two tons of food items to the Portland Veterans Center. Their work has been extraordinary! Post Service Officer, Chuck Whytnot, founded the program when he saw the need and has provided weekly support ever since. Staff at the Portland Veteran’s Center indicates that they fill 20 to 30 requests each week.

This time of year (and during the holidays) the needs are the greatest. We have some regular donors like WWII Vet, Bob Miele, who almost weekly, provides a bag of groceries. Recently, we had a local individual stop by and give two boxes of items even though he himself was not a veteran.

Despite this recent support, the cupboards are close to bare. The needs are great!

How can you help? Each Wednesday, Whynot collects non-perishable food items at the WVC from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  Most useful food for the cause is small unit or single serving items of meats, spaghetti, soups, canned fruit, sauces etc. as well as a variety of crackers and juice/drink products. No donation will be rejected.  There are a variety of needs. Want to give a financial donation? Not a problem, Whynot keeps a ledger of donations. Checks should be made out to the Legion Post 148.

No comments:

Post a Comment