NOTE: This post was shared with Feeding Washington by Second Harvest Inland Northwest to commemorate Veterans’ Day. In honoring Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, we continue to honor our Veterans. One way to do so is to also speak up for our current service members and their families that may be struggling with hunger. Please visit End Military Family Hunger.

Authors: Leah Horton, Corinna Mercado, & Claire Hurd

Fall is officially upon us. The weather is cooler, the clothing is warmer, and school is back in full swing. And with the beginning of fall comes a marathon of celebrations, family traditions, and holidays. Maybe some of you have already begun your preparations for the season to come. But whatever you are currently preparing for, it is imperative that we stop and recognize an often-overlooked day off that falls between the pumpkin picking and present wrapping: Veterans Day.

Veterans Day, in the U.S., originated as a way to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in service to country and was originally known as Armistice Day. November 11th was chosen to commemorate the anniversary of the Armistice that ended World War I. However, in 1954, the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day” in order to recognize and celebrate all veterans having served in all wars.

It is an unfortunate reality that those who currently serve or have previously served our country can face hunger. As our service men and women navigate the difficulties of military life including frequent moves, deployment, adjustment to civilian life, mental health, or physical ailments, hunger shouldn’t be part of the equation.

These men and women who commit themselves to this all-encompassing type of service bring their talents home and give back directly to their local community. Veterans like Candace, who served the US Army for 20 years and 15 days. We met her on October 29th at the Yakima Vet Center Mobile Market. She told us her calling to enlist was based on making ends meet. Prior to enlisting, Candace worked 3 jobs yet still struggled keeping a roof over her head and keeping food on the table. During her interview she stated, “Second Harvest and the Mobile Markets are awesome for giving food and making sure people are surviving”. We would like to thank Candace, veterans, and all of our fellow Americans who are actively serving our country.

You can help veterans in our community receive the meals and hope they need with a few simple steps.

Say “Thank you” 

Perhaps the most simple and meaningful way to show your support for a veteran is to express your thanks for their service. You may not know the independent struggles of each veteran you meet, but even a small act of kindness can brighten their day.

Educate Yourself

One of the best ways to help combat a problem like veterans facing hunger is to do your research to better understand the issues veterans face. Of the households Second Harvest, and the rest of the Feeding America Network, serves, one in five have at least one member who has served in the U.S. military. We are making outreaches to veterans through mobile markets like the one where we met Candace.

Check out these links to learn more:

Veterans of Foreign Wars – Hunger Among Veterans is a Growing Concern

Washington Post – Why So Many Veterans Go Hungry

CBS – Military Families Turning to Food Banks During Pandemic

Move For Hunger – Why Are So Many Veterans Food Insecure

Volunteer With Your Local Food Bank

For a more direct impact on serving those facing food insecurity in your neighborhood, donate your time at a local food bank. To find a food bank near you, go to our website.

You can also volunteer with Second Harvest here.

We hope you’ll take inspiration from this post to support our local veterans both this weekend and throughout the year. Our veterans do so much for us both within and outside our borders. It is important we support them however we can when given the opportunity. Let’s honor them this Veteran’s Day by raising awareness of the hardships they face and making a commitment to take action so that no veteran goes hungry.