Across the country, those who served in war protecting loved ones back home are now facing hunger and food insecurity.
Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars are twice as likely to face food insecurity, with one in four veterans being affecting.
Now, a national campaign is being launched to ensure all veterans have enough to eat, and members of the Gresham VFW Post 180 and its Auxiliary are making a difference in East Multnomah County.
Uniting to Combat Hunger is a national campaign that takes on food insecurity among military members. Established in 2018 through a partnership between the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Humana Inc. and Feeding America, the campaign uses higher purchasing power to transform donated funds into food. Every dollar donated provides at least 10 meals.
The Uniting to Combat Hunger campaign began in June and will run through the end of the year, with a goal of providing 1,000,000 meals across the country for 2021.
Hunger among veterans is something that is happening in our community. The Gresham VFW already distributes at least 15 food boxes, from Amen Ministries, to veterans each month. The VFW also said there are more in need who have not felt comfortable reaching out for help, and often don't feel comfortable going to other food banks.
And for the Gresham VFW, on top of feeding veterans, every dollar raised through the Uniting to Combat Hunger campaign returns grant money to support other programs. If the Gresham branch raises enough funds, a matching grant could provide up to $5,000. That grant ends on Aug. 1 — so the VFW needs donations to secure those crucial dollars.
The best way to donate to the Gresham VFW is at their booth at the weekly Gresham Farmers Market, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the Arts Plaza, 488 N.E. Third St. You can also donate online at vfw.org/UTCH — the donation will support hungry veterans wherever your billing ZIP code is located.
The Gresham VFW is also looking to sponsor a food drive for holiday meal baskets for Charlie Company of The Oregon Army National Guard stationed out of the Gresham Armory.
Every dollar given through the Uniting to Combat Hunger campaign represents 10 meals. To donate:
- Online: vfw.org/UTCH
- In person: Gresham VFW booth at the Gresham Farmers Market, 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at the Arts Plaza, 488 N.E. Third St.
- Mail: Checks can be made out to Gresham VFW Auxiliary Post 180, put "Combating Hunger" in the memo line. Mail to Gresham VFW Post 180, P.O. Box 1484, Gresham, OR, 97030.
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