The Gulf War Veteran

In 1991, Joyce enlisted as an Army reservist. She was stationed in Grand Rapids, Michigan, but then was sent to Saudi Arabia for seven months during the Persian Gulf War.

“We were fired upon by missiles,” said Joyce. “You’re like ‘what, what, wait a minute! What’s going on?’ … that was pretty tough to get used to.”

I’d pray every day that I got home and that my family is safe when I get there,” said Joyce. “It was difficult when I came home from the war … getting back used to civilian life.”

While she was in the military, Joyce was injured and disabled. And today, she walks with a cane. When she came back from the service, she needed help making ends meet.

That’s where Health Care For Homeless Vets, one of Feeding America West Michigan’s agencies in Grand Rapids, stepped in.

“If I need help with food, [the pantry is] there,” said Joyce. “They’re very helpful to veterans… the pantry is a big help.”

“The pantry really kind of allowed me not to have to make certain sacrifices…like ‘I gotta get food or I can’t pay rent,” said Joyce. “They helped keep my life really kinda in balance.”

“They’re like a godsend…I’m single, so it’s me and I don’t have nobody else I can lean on,” said Joyce. “It’s a blessing to have people that care about you.”

Being able to go to the pantry means a lot to Joyce, especially during the holidays.

“This last Christmas was really a Christmas party. Sitting around with the veterans’ family…enjoying things,” said Joyce. “You don’t have to worry about food for the holidays because they’re here.”