Military veterans frequently turn out to assist at food banks. At the American Legion in Newton, Post 440 member and U.S. Army veteran Philip De Vincentis is a regular volunteer: “One time you’re flying high; another time you might be scraping bottom. You do what you have to do to handle the circumstances in your life.”
But some are reluctant to receive assistance because they worry it’s seen as a “handout,” De Vincentis said. That stigma is a barrier The Greater Boston Food Bank is working to overcome. It’s one reason the organization uses the term, Veterans Market, in its three locations: Newton, Melrose and Revere.
“They are very proud. A lot of veterans say, ‘There’s someone who needs it more than me,’” said Peretti. “To that, we say ‘This is here for you as a member of your community.’ So, we’ve moved away from the term, food pantry, to more of a community focused on inclusive welcoming.”
Peretti, whose grandfathers both fought in World War II, coordinates these veteran-focused programs and more than 30 other mobile markets across Eastern Massachusetts, which have been part of the Feeding America network since 1982.
“But none of this would happen without our partners, like the American Legion Post 440, like Raytheon Technologies, like all the volunteers,” Peretti said.
“We have the food,” she added. “But if our partners weren't there to provide support, a warehouse full of food doesn't do anything. So, we need organizations and their volunteers who know the community and who can reach out and distribute food to people who need it. Nobody is turned away.”
Click here to find out more about Raytheon Technologies’ support for food security programs and employee volunteers’ efforts in these and other community initiatives.