Christina enlisted in the Air Force after high school. She remembers the sense of pride and accomplishment she felt after completing basic training. She went on to serve as a surgery tech in Desert Storm. After returning from war, she became sick and received a medical retirement. Retirement was a blessing because she was so ill, but also an unexpected disruption in her life. Within two weeks, she lost her job, her income and her personal identity.
She didn’t have enough money to support herself. She needed a new game plan and enrolled in college. Christina had to decide between attending school, working and never seeing her kids or attending school and receiving assistance. The military taught her to be self-reliant, so it wasn’t easy to ask for help. Her family moved into public housing and received food from a local food pantry.
“To change your life plans that quickly is a big deal,” Christina recalls. “Without the assistance I received, I do not know what I would have done.”
Today, Christina pays the help forward. She volunteers at Second Harvest Food Bank every month with a special group of veterans from the Center of Recovery Education Veterans program. She gives back so that other veterans can get the temporary help they need through our network of 550 food pantries.
When we think about the 550,000 Central Floridians who need food assistance each year, it’s important to remember that a full 20% of them are either active military personal or veterans who proudly served our country. When you needed them, they were there for you. Now they need your help during this difficult time in their lives.
Please consider what you can contribute to help put more meals on the table for veterans like Christina and their families. Your generosity can make a very real difference.
Thank you for caring, and thank you to all who have served our country in uniform.