61-year-old Timothy Cola is one of many veterans in South Louisiana who is struggling to find enough to eat every week. Thanks to you, he has a place to turn. Like so many of his generation, Mr. Cola keeps a positive outlook despite his day-to-day troubles. “I feel like I’m blessed…too blessed to be stressed.”
As a young man in New Orleans, he enlisted in the Navy and shipped overseas to Vietnam. Mr. Cola was serving aboard the USS Naval Destroyer Warrington off the coast of Vietnam when the vessel struck two U.S. mines, crippling and nearly sinking the ship of war. Mr. Cola and his shipmates managed to keep the Warrington afloat. “It was a very traumatic experience,” he told us.
Now, 46 years later, Mr. Cola has several physical ailments that require visits to Veterans Administration doctors every week and many medications. He finds it difficult to afford to keep food in the house. “My bills got to get paid, I don’t want to be homeless,” Mr. Cola said. “Second Harvest helps immensely, because groceries are the last on my list.”
Mobile Pantries Deliver
Mr. Cola is able to get nutritious food each month at the St. Peter AME Church in the Hollygrove neighborhood of New Orleans, the site of a monthly mobile pantry sponsored by First NBC Bank.
Mobile pantries are refrigerated trucks that can carry fresh food into hard to reach neighborhoods where people do not have regular access to a grocery store or a permanent food pantry.
“I come out every month, every month I’m able,” he said.
Pastor David E. Smith says his working-class neighborhood is one of the areas of New Orleans that has not bounced back following Katrina. “Hollygrove has one of the highest crime rates and highest illiteracy rates in the city,” Smith said. “And in the last few years, there’s been a tremendous increase in need in this particular area.”
And that’s where you’ve stepped in and made such a tremendous difference in the lives of folks like Timothy Cola. Thanks to your support, hungry people have access to a regular supply of healthy food in hard to reach neighborhoods across South Louisiana. We could not make this happen without your support.