Community Cooperative was presented the inaugural Bay Pines Director’s Cup for service to Southwest Florida’s veterans through bimonthly mobile food pantries held at Lee County Veterans Affairs (VA) Clinic in Cape Coral. Until the pantries were stopped in March due to the pandemic, Community Cooperative served more than 500 veterans a month since 2017.
“We’re grateful we’re able to help area veterans who served our country from World War II to Afghanistan and everything in between,” said Tracey Galloway, chief executive officer of Community Cooperative.
“Nationwide, 25% of active military families are getting help from food pantries, and hunger among the 12 million veterans of the age of 60 is sadly skyrocketing. During the pandemic we have helped veterans with our drive-through community food pantries, but we look forward to reinstating the veterans-only food pantries again when the VA locally is ready for us.”
At the pantries, veterans received a week’s worth of shelf stable food, meat and fresh produce. Community Cooperative started with one pantry a month, but after seeing the need went to twice-a-month distributions for veterans and their families at the Lee County Veterans Affairs Clinic in Cape Coral. The pantries were sponsored in part by the Bonita Bay Veterans Club.
The Bay Pines VA Healthcare System, with headquarters in Bay Pines near St. Petersburg, runs nine facilities serving more than 108,000 veterans in 10 counties in central Southwest Florida. In patients treated or served, the system is the fourth busiest VA Healthcare system in the country.
To support Community Cooperative’s programs, including food pantries for veterans, visit CommunityCooperative.com.