"When Lucy Reyna returned home from war, she had no idea of the battle that lay ahead."
Feeding America media partner Woman's Day recently published a touching profile of Lucy Reyna, a mother and veteran of the Iraq war, who had turned to the Feeding America network of food banks to make ends meet when faced with difficult circumstances.
"The hardest part was not knowing when it would get better," she says. "I had such a bleak outlook and was always stressed trying to make ends meet. It felt hopeless."
Lucy, an Iraq war veteran who was a single mother to Mason, Sienna and Logan, is not alone. According to a 2014 Feeding America survey, about 25% of military households require food assistance. Military salaries are often too low to cover the cost of daily life. And for returning veterans, health issues can prevent them from getting and retaining higher-paying civilian careers.
When she returned home from her second tour in 2007, she was diagnosed with panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder, due to what she experienced in combat. Then she was told she had both cervical and breast cancer. "I made a full recovery from both cancers, but still couldn't take on a full-time job because of my ongoing health issues," she says. "The work I did find was never enough."
Lucy relied on food stamps, WIC (Women, Infants and Children, a supplemental nutrition program), donation drives and a national organization called Final Salute that helped her find housing. She also frequented a food bank that supplied her family with groceries and baked goods that store owners were about to throw out. "I was constantly looking up different resources, trying to dig myself out of this hole," she says. "It was hard for all of us, but I always told my kids, 'We have each other. We're OK.'"
Thank you to all our supporters and partners who allow us to provide for those who turn to the Feeding America network for nourishment.