After seeing a need to help area veterans facing hunger, Kate Mayor decided to start a local nonprofit called Food for Vets.
“I have a very good friend who has a food pantry for veterans in another state,” Mayor said, explaining she was compelled to take local action, following the death of a veteran from hypothermia in a Fort Walton Beach Park and after seeing people holding up signs, claiming they are veterans in need of food.
But Food for Vets does make sure the veterans they serve were in fact in the U.S. military.
“They have to prove they served,” Mayor said, pointing out vets can provide a Florida state identification card marked with veteran status, a VA health card or picture ID along DD214 paperwork issued upon discharge.
“I do realize that there is a food pantry on Bases that cater towards those that need them and this includes Veterans. What many people do not know is that the veterans most in need do not have Base access,” she said.
Mayor, who is a 100 percent disabled Air Force veteran, said she picked a spot to place the pantry where she felt it would do the most good.
Food for Veterans is located inside a 745-square-foot warehouse at 1839 Cowen Road, Unit A, and although it’s located in the Midway community, it has a Gulf Breeze address.
“Gulf Breeze seemed like a good location between Pensacola and Fort Walton Beach, two areas where the need seems the highest,” she said.
According to Mayor, Food For Veterans, Inc., received federal tax exempt status February 12 and is now accepting monetary and non-perishable food contributions. Additionally, pet food and personal hygiene item donations are accepted as well.
Mayor said Food for Vets also has a need for volunteers to help on the third Saturday of each month, starting March 17.
“We need someone to greet the veterans and checking them into the system and we need people to help the veterans bag their food and load it into their vehicle” she said.
For veterans, there are no lectures or presentations or follow-up phone calls. There are also no income restrictions.
The food pantry will be open from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 17 and each third Saturday of the month thereafter at the warehouse on Cowen Road.
For more information visit www.foodforvets.org.