Community Cooperative food pantry providing groceries for veterans

For veterans struggling after serving their country, a soup kitchen in Lee County is extending a helping hand.

“They’ll come and show us the balance in their bank accounts and they’ll show us what they get every month in food stamps and it’s pennies, so we know that they’re here because they need it,” said Tracey Galloway, Community Cooperative CEO.

The Community Cooperative says that thousands of veterans in Lee County can’t afford to feed their families this holiday season, and as the local need grows, the pantry will continue to help brave veterans with basic needs.

“I’ve got a lot of issues going on physically and mental health, we’re just exposed to a lot of things that the common civilian doesn’t experience,” said Matthew Gunn, a Marine Veteran.

Gunn went to Lee County’s Department of Veteran’s Affairs for health careĀ and he left with a box of blessings to feed his family.

“I got hurt again again and ended up losing my job, and the beginning of the month I got back surgery so I’ve been out of work,” Gunn said. “I’ve got three kids so bread is always great because they want sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, some milk and soups and stuff.”

Galloway says that setting up a cooperative food pantry outside of the Veterans Administration allows her soup kitchen to provide monthly meals for about 500 veterans in need.

Veterans are able to get groceries they need to get through the month.

“It’s really rewarding because we get to see the gratitude that everyone has for what we do,” Galloway said.

And the veterans appreciate the care.

“It’s amazing, just the stuff that people are giving to people like myself and everyone else that might need a little helping hand,” Gunn said.

A helping had serving those who served our country.

Next week the Community Cooperative will place food pantries outside of Mariner Middle School and North Fort Myers Community Park.

For more information, you can visit their website.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
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