VA Salt Lake City Health Care System
First Veteran Food Pantry Opens at VASLC
“This is not like your regular food pantry,” says an Army Veteran who identified himself as ‘Jason.’ “This is Veteran friendly. It’s very discreet no one sees me come in.”
‘Jason’ along with 1.7 million other Veterans experiences food insecurity—meaning they have inconsistent access to adequate food because of limited financial resources. Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans are at double the national average for food insecurity, which is at a whopping 14.5%.
Natalie Green, VASLC employee and creator of the pantry program, thinks that is just too high. “If you break that number down, that’s just a tremendous amount of Veterans --just here locally,” says Green. “We could be doing more.”
Green is certainly right with 13.4% of Salt Lake residents experiencing food insecurity, there’s a constant need for food programs. Green stepped in at the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System where there were no food assistance programs and she pitched the idea for a food pantry. On March 9, 2017, the food pantry opened its doors.
Natalie Green, Shella Stovall, Acting Medical Center Director, and Alison Glass cut ribbon opening new Food Pantry at VASLCHCS.
Anyone can donate food to the pantry, employees and Veterans. Monetary donations are also welcome. “I wanted to do something that was more than just a regular project; I wanted to be able to make a difference in Veterans lives and be able to impact them directly through what I develop.” says Green.
The food pantry is staffed by Veterans in the Compensate Work Therapy program, to keep the dynamic of Veterans serving Veterans.
“Use the food pantry,” says Jesse, a 10-year Air Force Veteran. Jesse is wheelchair bound and was thrilled to be stocking up on much needed groceries, “Don’t let pride stop you from getting what you need.”
The Food Pantry is located in the basement of BLDG 3 in room GA13. It’s open every Thursday from 2:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m. to all Veterans that receive care through the VA Salt Lake City Health Care System. The Food Pantry is also adjacent to the Clothing Supply room which is also free for any Veteran that is in need of clothing. .
For more information on the Food Pantry and or how to donate please call (801)582-1565 ext: 1957.