The third Wednesday of each month, the non-profit Combined Arms and Galveston County Food Bank set up a mobile food pantry outside the Texas City VA Clinic to distribute free groceries to Veterans and their families.

Nurses Venus Sanders and Fran Hodgkins, Houston VA Mental Health Intensive Case Management program (pictured above), play an important role in the food pantry by registering Veterans and their families in the parking lot. Each month, they help serve more than 200 Veterans.

VA nurse register Veteran and food bank

Nurse Venus Sanders registers Veterans for the mobile food pantry in Texas City

“Fran and I are out there with iPads checking people in,” said Sanders. “We’ve gotten to know the Veterans. This summer it was so hot and the Veterans in the cars were worried about us. They enjoy seeing us and we enjoy seeing them.”

The food pantry operates two weeks prior to the first of the month, a time when many families are dependent on social security or VA disability. The groceries serve as an important bridge between payments.

“Good nutrition is key to healthy communities.”

“Good nutrition is really key to having healthy communities,” said Hodgkins. “You can’t sleep when you’re hungry. You can’t get better when you’re hungry. We want our Veterans and their families to be able to have food.”

Following each event, Sanders and Hodgkins load up boxes full of groceries and deliver them to six Veterans in the program who suffer from severe mental illness.

“We want to give them groceries.”

“A woman whose son is on our caseload cried because she didn’t know how they were going to make it,” said Hodgkins. “She was down to hot dogs. We also delivered milk to a lady who was so thankful because she was drinking powdered milk. People are food insecure. We want to give them groceries.”

Thank you, Sanders and Hodgkins, for supporting our Veterans. Texas City VA Clinic is part of Houston VA.

By Nate Schaeffer

Public affairs specialist, Houston VA

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Published on Nov. 25, 2022

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