More than a million veterans are at risk of becoming homeless and going hungry. There's one organization in Central New York that's trying to help with free groceries.

Times are tough with the cost of everything going through the roof. It's even harder for veterans who are living on a fixed income.

Feed Our Vets

Feed Our Vets is doing what it can to help. The mission is to leave no veteran, military member, or their families behind on the battlefield of hunger.

Nearly 4 million pounds of free groceries have been provided to more than 51,000 veterans since 2009.

"We also provided $270,500 in gift cards to veterans in 41 states, Puerto Rico and Washington DC, who are housebound or do not live near one of our food pantries," said Feed Our Vets President Rich Purcell.

free groceries for vets
Credit - Rich Purcell

Mini Grocery Stores

The Feed Our Vets pantries are a little different than most food pantries. It's not a place to go and get a bag of groceries. It's a place veterans can go and shop for themselves.

Purcell says the pantries are best described as mini grocery stores that offer dairy, meats, breads, produce, and hundreds of different non-perishable food items.

"It offers our heroes a shopping experience where they pick what foods they need or desire."

Credit - Rich Purcell
Credit - Rich Purcell

Donation Based

Feed Our Vets receives no federal, state, or local government funding. The organization relies on the generosity of the community and the Central New York Food Bank. And those donations are put to good use.

94% of the monetary donations Feed Our Vets receives go directly towards purchasing groceries for veterans.

veterans grocery store
Credit - Rich Purcell

Food Pantry Locations

Free groceries are provided at three mini grocery stores. There are two in New York. One in Utica, and another in Watertown. There's also one in Ashtabula, Ohio.

The Feed Our Vets store in Utica is located at 502 Broad Street. It's open Wednesdays from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM and the third Saturday of the month from 8:00 AM to 10:45 AM.

Proof of military service and bags are required to pick up free groceries.

Want to help join serve those who served? You can donate, provide food, volunteer, or start a Feed Our Vets Food Pantry program in your community.

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