The generosity of our community allows the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank to help Veterans like Frank who are trying to get back on their feet. This Independence Day, we honor those who served our country, as well as all of the charitable agencies who serve them in return.
Frank, 51, is a United States Army Veteran and one of the 300,000 food-insecure individuals who receive assistance through the Food Bank’s Partner Agency Network. “You guys are just a complete blessing,” Frank says. “If you weren’t here, I would be out there hustling or canning more. That’s really all I could do.”
Before this food was made available to him, Frank would go out every Thursday with rubber gloves to dig through trash bins for cans and things to sell. This process, known as ‘canning’ can increase exposure to unsanitary substances and result in illness. “After about two hours of canning, on average, I’d get about $8, which I’d use for food.” With that, Frank would live on ramen noodles, eggs from the 99 cent stores, canned goods and other foods high in sodium and low in nutrition value.
Frank says his diet is a lot healthier now and smiles ear to ear as he reveals the day’s haul. He’s visibly excited to take home fresh and frozen fruit, greens, frozen catfish, sausage, a whole turkey roast, mushrooms, soda bread which remind him of his grandmother, and more. “Strawberries, yes!” he exclaims. “I’ll eat some of these before I even get home!”
Frank is currently unable to work because of a variety of health issues including head trauma, a metal ankle and PTSD. He’s a recovering alcoholic who quotes scripture as easily as breathing. Recovery has been a struggle, but he’s grateful and optimistic due to the support he’s found in the community. “Places like this are really what help because you can’t get through it without people helping,” he says.
Frank is fortunate to receive housing assistance, but there are currently 8,000 homeless veterans on the streets of Los Angeles. By supporting organizations like the Food Bank, you make it possible to funnel vital resources to those who need them most throughout our community, and by helping our neighbors in need save money on food, you enable them to pay other bills which can alleviate housing insecurity.
Thank you for your generosity, which helps us serve the most vulnerable people in our community as they work for a better future.
The Los Angeles Regional Food Bank works with a network of more than 600 charitable partner agencies throughout LA County. We recently visited My Friends House in Los Angeles and interviewed neighbors who were receiving groceries at their weekly distribution. Frank shared this story with us.