Hundreds of disabled veterans get groceries at Mobile Food Bank

It’s a rainy, windy afternoon at the Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, but the hearty group of volunteers setting out boxes of apples, avocados and potatoes isn’t deterred by the weather. They’ve been here all week. “If you can’t tell, we have a lot of fun doing this,” said Bill, one volunteer, as he helped a Mobile Food Bank client fill a battered black wagon with food.

Tanya Jackson visited the Mobile Food Bank at Mann-Grandstaff to pick up a few groceries, snagging a bag of apples and potatoes and staples like bread.

Jackson, a retired Air Force veteran, said this year has been very difficult for her – close family members have died, and she’s dealt with medical problems. It feels like one thing after another. “Today is a really bad day.” Being at the Mobile Food Bank, though, is a bright spot.

“This is fantastic. Thank you so much. It really helps – I’m unemployed and it’s really difficult,” she said.

The group manning the truck is from the Inland Northwest Disabled Veterans Sports Association (INDVSA), a local chapter of a national group that puts on events like wheelchair games for their members. Many are also extremely active in volunteer work.

Walt doesn’t let his wheelchair stop him from helping clients carry groceries to their car. He does it for hours. A retired physical therapist, Walt used to work at Mann-Grandstaff before retiring last spring. He’s volunteered for the Red Cross, a CB radio group, and coached softball and wheelchair basketball. Walt’s also a member of the Order of the Purple Heart, which he earned after being injured in the Vietnam War.

“I started volunteering when I was 16,” he said. “Any time we can do something to help vets, that’s what I love doing.”

Bill and his wife Esther are volunteering together. They plan to go out for pizza afterward, but for now, they’re having fun. Bill teaches archery at INDVSA, and after he got out of the military he earned degrees in social work and linguistics. He’s been volunteering four years.

“We do anything we can to help the disabled,” he said.

The Mobile Food Bank at the Mann-Grandstaff served 910 families throughout the week with more than 21,000 pounds of food. Bill estimates more than 90 percent of these clients were disabled.

You can help feed hungry kids, seniors, families and veterans today - all these folks use groceries from Mobile Food Bank trucks when times are tough. Just one dollar provides five meals for a family in need.