For Iraq War veteran “John,” his wife “Sharon” and their teenage son and daughter, United Food Bank is the lifeline that helps them get by.
For the past 10 months they’ve showed up regularly when the food bank’s mobile pantry comes to their neighborhood.
John had served 10 years in the military and intended to make it his career when an injury sent him back to civilian life just as the economy was shrinking and his kids were growing.
The family caught the attention of Denise Montana, United Food Bank’s agency relations coordinator, who oversees the organization’s two mobile food pantries.
An Air Force veteran herself, Montana has an affinity for the many veterans who depend on the food bank to make ends meet.
Although dozens of local food pantries distribute food-bank-provided commodities throughout the Valley and many rural communities, the mobile pantries fill in the geographic gaps.
A box of wholesome food items is intended to feed a family of four for one week.
“The mobile pantry is a real lifeline for this family and many others like them,” said Montana. “This could be my family or yours. These are good, hard-working people, but good jobs are still hard to find. Lots of families are struggling just like they are.
“Dad served his country and now his son, who’s a senior in high school, has signed a commitment to enlist in the Army after he graduates,” she said. “Helping families like theirs is what makes my job so fulfilling.”
United Food Bank is one of 23 local agencies that receive funding from Mesa United Way and provide a wide range of services for people of all ages. MUW is sharing their stories through this “Faces of Need – and Hope” project throughout its 2013-14 pledge campaign. The names of those served have been changed to protect their privacy. To donate or to join or help organize a workplace pledge campaign, visit www.mesaunitedway.org. To learn more about United Food Bank, visit www.unitedfoodbank.org.