Forty-four-year-old Tina is a disabled Air Force Veteran and client of the Fall River Veteran’s Center food pantry, which receives most of its food from The Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB). She is like so many in eastern Massachusetts who are struggling and can’t afford the food they need to avoid hunger and stay active and healthy.
“I was born and raised here in Fall River, and am a die-hard Bruins fan. Members of my family were in the military, and I wanted to serve. So, since I loved flying planes I entered the Air Force. That’s where I met my husband. We had two daughters, and lived all over. Life was challenging, but good.
“But, injuries forced me to stop working, and a few years back I went through a tough divorce. I needed help, and moved back to Fall River to be near my family. Now, I’m completely disabled, and it is very hard to make ends meet.
“When I reached out to the Veteran’s Association of Bristol County, I learned about their food pantry and other services. The groceries I get there every month, including fresh produce, really make a difference to my very tight food budget.
“I’ve also been able to give back by using my degree in programming to help with the Veteran’s Center computers. Lately, I’ve also been volunteering at the food pantry sorting, organizing and distributing food to local Veterans. We’re serving more than 160 men and women every month! It feels good to be around different people and to be helping others. Personally, I could never give back as much as these people have given me, and I would do anything for them. It’s therapeutic.
“You know, sometimes you give and you can’t see whether you actually help someone. But here at the Veteran’s pantry, you see how you’re helping. People are so happy when they pick-up their bag of groceries. It brings a smile to my face. I’m so grateful.”