Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System
GCVHCS to Host Mobile Food Pantry July 29
BILOXI, Miss. – The Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System’s (GCVHCS) Biloxi Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center is scheduled to host a food distribution event July 29 from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. at the organization’s headquarters in Biloxi, Mississippi.
The Mobile Food Pantry, spearheaded by the GCVHCS Homeless Veterans Program, is designed to provide non-perishable goods to Veterans and their families during the ongoing health crisis.
Only 200 boxes of goods will be distributed on a first come, first served basis.
The event is scheduled as a contactless drive-through function, with GCVHCS employees volunteering to distribute pre-loaded bags to Veterans, caregivers and other eligible individuals who will not have to leave their vehicles.
Veterans and caregivers will be required to show proof of identification – a Department of Veterans Affairs or retired military identification card – to GCVHCS employees during the event to receive a box of goods.
“During the ongoing health crisis, many people lost their jobs, adding additional stressors like how utilities, rent or a mortgage would be paid and how they were going to keep food on the table,” GCVHCS Homeless Veterans Program Manager Jodi Picciano-Swanson said. “While the [GCVHCS] Homeless Program maintains a food pantry for homeless Veterans, the goal of partnering with Feeding the Gulf Coast is to serve other Veterans experiencing food shortages.”
The GCVHCS Homeless program is scheduled to distribute non-perishable items primarily donated by Feeding the Gulf Coast, a Feeding America regional member. Picciano-Swanson added, however, that GCVHCS Volunteer Services continuously accepts donations of non-perishable items, including toiletries, for the more than 700 homeless and at-risk Veterans – with more than 200 of them in Biloxi, Mississippi, alone – along the Gulf Coast.
The Mobile Food Pantry is an all-volunteer effort, Picciano-Swanson said, with Biloxi VA Medical Center employees volunteering to fill bags with non-perishable items the morning of July 29 and distribute those during the drive-through, an effort she says is indicative of the organization’s ongoing mission.
“The ongoing global health crisis is affecting so many people right now,” she said. “Some of our nation’s Veterans might be particularly at risk, and ensuring they have basic necessities like food and toiletries is one of our top considerations. These Veterans have already endured so much, and the GCVHCS is always here to help.”
Community members interested in donating are encouraged to contact GCVHCS Voluntary Services at 228-523-5763. Additional information about the event can be found on the GCVHCS Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/732605580883349.
The Biloxi Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, along with the Mobile, Pensacola, Eglin and Panama City VA Clinics are all part of the GCVHCS, which is headquartered in Biloxi, Mississippi, and provides a variety of medical outpatient services to more than 70,000 Veterans.