To address food insecurity of veterans and their families in Katy and the surrounding rural areas, Vietnam veteran Sheryll Jones started The Texas Veterans Food Bank Foundation. To understand how to reach those veterans and the barriers they face to access services, Jones contacted Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) Employment Services Director and Air Force veteran Anna Baker, who Jones had met at an American Legion event. From that, Myeshia Wilcox, Army veteran and TVC Employment District Outreach Coordinator, Gulf Coast District, became TVC’s liaison to The Texas Veterans Food Bank Foundation.
“Myeshia Wilcox was instrumental in assisting the Veterans Food Bank Foundation with their set-up and entry into the area,” said Jo Ikard, TVC Employment Gulf Coast District Manager and Marine veteran. “She provided vital information and gave insight into how the organization could reach out to the veterans most in need. Myeshia made sure they understood some of the barriers that veterans face, a few of them being travel, financial and even pride issues. She gave insight from a case manager perspective on what could be done to help the veterans overcome these barriers so the organization could reach them.”
Wilcox, pictured, notes that good nutrition is essential to quality of life including having a job.
“Things are more difficult when you’re hungry, including finding employment,” said Wilcox. She also noted having a job does not always end food insecurity. “As Mrs. Jones and I discussed, while adult veterans will have more success at securing food with a job, veterans that are under-employed will need more assistance providing nutrition needs to their families.”
According to Wilcox, proximity to services is among the barriers the Texas Veterans Food Bank Foundation is addressing. “Veterans suffering from trauma and living in rural areas are less likely to travel to a major city for help,” said Wilcox. To overcome this barrier, the food bank will partner with already established area food pantry pick up locations, such as the American Legion, until it secures its own site.
Pictured below is Texas Veterans Food Bank Foundation Founder and CEO Sheryll Jones.
Texas Veterans Commission Veteran Employment Services receives federal funding. For more information, visit Stevens Amendment.