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One can or one truck load, no food donation is too big or too small

Elizabeth Childs placing food in pantry

When it comes to helping Veterans Health Care Systems of the Ozarks (VHSO) food insecure Veterans in need, no food donation is too big or too small. From one can of soup to one truck load of groceries, every donation helps.

Chelsea Pascensia, Nutrition Manager, Samaritan Community Center, said “I have a heart for all the hungry and hurting, but especially Veterans.  They have made the biggest sacrifice you can make and whatever we can do to help, we will do.  It is a worthy cause to say the least.  It takes a community coming together to address and solve the issue of food insecurity.”

Despite economic challenges in 2022, community partners, individuals, employees and anonymous donors have graciously and generously donated to VHSO food insecure Veterans. Although we can’t name them all, here’s just a few who heard the call for help from our Veterans and answered this December:

  • The Fayetteville-Springdale Elks Lodge, #1987 donated holiday food boxes
  • Arkansas State Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (ASDAR) donated shoebox gifts
  • Samaritan Community Center donated fresh eggs and cases of food
  • Tyson Veterans Business Resource Group donated food boxes
  • Northwest Arkansas Food Bank donated food
  • VHSO held a food drive
  • University of Arkansas Student Athlete Development conducted a food drive for VHSO
  • Dozens of individuals have stepped up with gifts big and small

Donations tend to slow down after the holidays and into spring, but unfortunately food insecurity does not.  In hopes of providing food all year round, the VHSO Food Security Committee opened a Micro Food Pantry this past October.  What makes the Micro Food Pantry unique is the pantry is accessible 24/7 and self-serving. Also in the pantry is education materials for Veterans to learn about services available such as suicide hotline, whole health opportunities and specialty care services VHSO provides. 

Elizabeth Childs, LPN and VHSO Food Security Committee member, offered her heartfelt insight regarding the pantry.  “I am very honored to work with the micro food pantry and to help others that have food insecurities. I, myself have had times in my life that if it was not for organizations, like the food pantry, I would not have had food and would have gone hungry. I remember many times of not knowing where the next meal would come from and I was always thankful for the food that was provided. I wanted to be a part of this committee to be able to bring that same hope to our Veterans as well, especially in these times we are facing now. It is always nice to have a place to turn to in time of need.”

If you are interested in donating in the new year, please Contact caroline.dotson@va.gov or call Center for Development and Civic Engagement (CDCE) at 479-444-5060 for information.

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