Harlingen VA to host drive-thru food pantry

Close up of volunteers giving boxes of food at a distribution event. (Syda Productions | Adobe Stock)
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Veterans are getting a helping hand for the holidays.

The VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System is offering veterans a chance to stop by its drive-thru food pantry from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Harlingen Health Care Clinic at 2601 Veterans Drive — while supplies last.

Veterans enrolled in health care at the VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System must present a valid VA identification card to confirm their veteran status.

More than a million American veterans are “food insecure,” according to a recent study by the RAND Corporation.

“Food insecurity — the inability to secure enough food to maintain health — can involve relying on cheap, unhealthy food,” a press release stated.

“Adjusting for a range of characteristics, including age, the RAND report said veteran status was associated with a 7.4% increased likelihood of living in a household with food insecurity and a 9.2% increased likelihood of being very food insecure, which means regularly skipping meals.”

“Not having enough to eat can lead to physical and mental health conditions and increase a veteran’s risk of suicide,” Hugo Martinez, the agency’s spokesman, said. “Our food pantries are one way we are tackling this very serious issue. If you’re a veteran in need, VA is here for you.”

The Harlingen Health Care Clinic is seen on June 9, 2014, in Harlingen. (David Pike | Valley Morning Star | AP Photo)

“Studies have shown that addressing food insecurity at the point of (health) care is both efficient and effective,” the press release stated. “The VA Texas Valley Coastal Bend Health Care System will continue its efforts to ensure that no Veteran goes hungry. In addition to health care, VA also provides education, employment and housing assistance to veterans in need.”

Homeless veterans or those facing homelessness can contract the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at (877) 4AID-VET (877-424-3838).

For more information, follow the Texas Valley Coastal Bend VA on Facebook.