Food pantries serving more and more veterans - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Food pantries serving more and more veterans

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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio – When you donate money or food to the Second Harvest Food Bank, you may not know where some of that food goes.

In East Palestine, half of the food goes to veterans and the elderly on fixed incomes.

Each month, volunteers from the First Church of Christ in East Palestine along with students from Crestview and other local high schools donate their time to help others in need.

What might be surprising to many are the faces of the people who need food. Dick Simpson, Commander of American Legion Post 290, tells us many are veterans.

"Over 40 percent of the people that come here are either veterans or veterans families. Therefore, we, American Legion Post 290, felt we needed to help this food bank out," Simpson said.

Out of the 897 people who came here for food last month, 181 of them were veterans and 191 of them were senior citizens.

Many of the veterans who need help are over the age of 55 and on a fixed income, or are disabled and can't work like Rich Hamilton who worked 43 years in the steel mills and other jobs.

"I could not make it, we try our best," Hamilton said. Hamilton worries about younger veterans, who need help to put food on their tables because jobs are scarce and good paying jobs even rarer.

Trudy Mackall, Director of Caring Hands Ministry, emphasized that younger veterans have additional hurdles they face when they return home.

"There are a couple volunteering that are veterans today that come in here and pick up the food. They're suffering from the flashbacks and all of that and people don't want to put them to work, it's just that simple. It's a scary situation," Mackall said.

Mackall says her food ministry depends on Second Harvest and adds donating is just one way to honor our veterans and show them we appreciate their sacrifices.

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