Are you under the age of 60 years old? Are you struggling financially and having a hard time getting a good, hot meal? Meals for Vets is the perfect program in this case.
“Our founder, Tom Wollney, founded this program back in 2015 when he was visiting with the Veteran Services here in Fredericksburg (Texas) and found out there were veterans here in Fredericksburg that were not able to access a daily nutritious meal,” said Mike Cagle, the Meals for Vets Program director. Wollney worked with senior living facilities to have them provide the requested meals to the veterans in need.
From there, the organization began to grow significantly. In fact, it has grown from 3 counties in Texas, to over 60. Meals for Vets has also been able to provide over 153,400 meals since its inception.
“Its a program that allows us to partner with meal providers across the state of Texas,” Cagle said in our live interview on Monday. He also stated his organization and the meal provider complete a Memorandum of Agreement so the company can provide the meal and Meals for Vets reimburses them monthly. The companies are to provide one hot, fresh meal daily for the approved veteran.
Originally, the organization aimed its resources to veterans who were not homeless, but were also not meeting at least 60% of the median income for their region. Since 2015 however, they came across a young woman who they found had a unique way of getting her meals while she attended school. She would attend as many seminars and meetings that offered free meals as she could.
Well, once Wollney heard this, he decided to have Cagle and the rest of the organization investigate further into the food resources colleges and universities had for veterans. They found the schools had small food pantries or resources, but ultimately, nothing like what their organization could provide. Meals for Vets has since partnered up with 9 campuses and they will have 15 campuses in their organization by Jan. 1, 2020.
The Meals for Vets organization is able to accommodate many different things because of the companies they are partnered with. They are able to provide menu options for all sorts of dietary restrictions, they are able to deliver fairly rural (as long as there is a physical address to deliver to), and they have several other types of resources available.
If an older veteran is in need, they most certainly will not turn them away. In fact, they have been known to assist getting hot meals for veterans on wait lists with other organizations. Another fact about Meals for Vets is the food service can last for as long, or short, as you need it. So, let’s say you are a younger veteran attending school and your GI bill is not covering your full needs- you could apply for benefits and receive them until you are able to graduate and get a stable job to pay for everything. Or say you hit a rough patch in life (we all have at one point!) and just need a meal for a couple of months, sign up!
Meals for Vets does have some income restrictions to ensure they are helping those who are truly financially struggling, but they will also find ways to help a veteran in need. So if you need a hot meal, go to https://www.mealsforvets.org/ and find out how you can sign up.
Unfortunately, this is strictly for Texas veterans at this time. Meals for Vets hopes to expand its operation to the national level within the next five to ten years.