Veterans help Veterans. That’s what Joseph Palmer believes.
“It’s what we do,” he explained. “If a Veteran needs help, who better to help them than a fellow Veteran?”
Palmer is the Veterans Affairs Officer of VFW Post 7539, in Bloomingdale, Illinois. Every month, his organization donates approximately $400 worth of items to Joliet VA Clinic’s micro food pantry for Veterans and their families in need of assistance.
The donations are aided by Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle, Illinois, who match the post’s monthly gift.
“It’s sad that we have Veterans with this need, but it’s great that we have this service and people willing to help,” said Tamorah Riney, licensed practical nurse and the clinic’s food pantry organizer.
According to Riney, the clinic sends a list of requested items to Palmer. The items are purchased online and shipped to the clinic for Veterans and their families.
VFW Post 7539 also regularly collects food items and donates them to the clinic in addition to its monthly orders.
“This month, I can’t keep the pantry stocked. There has been such a need,” said Riney. “Mr. Palmer is coming with additional food, and it will really help.”
Will County residents seeking food bank assistance grew 23 percent overall since July 2021. The Joliet clinic’s micro food pantry began earlier this year to help Veterans and their families suffering food insecurity, according to Elizabeth Thrun, coordinator of Hines VA’s food assistance network.
According to Palmer, his organization projects it can continue monthly food deliveries for the next several years.
“We’re very fortunate enough to have donors who have been very supportive and allow us to continue to donate food,” said Palmer. “As long as they need food items, we’ll continue with it.”
The micro food pantry is located inside the clinic’s main lobby, at 1201 Eagle Street, Joliet, Illinois 60632. Community members are welcome to donate non-perishable food staples and household items.
Donations are also accepted at Hines VA’s other outpatient clinics in Aurora, Hoffman Estates, La Salle, Kankakee, and Oak Lawn.
The micro food pantry is in addition to other food, employment, and housing assistance programs provided through the Joliet VA Clinic and Hines VA. Veterans can learn about available resources by calling 708-202-4961.