Rayford is a military veteran who served during the ‘70s and ‘80s. While on duty he served in California, Alaska, Panama, Germany, North Carolina and more .
He loved serving our country.
“I really enjoyed it. It made me a better person. I got to see different cultures and different countries. And what I came to understand is that people are people all over the world,” Rayford said.
Though he remembers his time in the military with fondness and pride, Rayford also remembers the day he suffered an injury that has affected the rest of his life. While he was deployed, he was attacked and he suffered a foot injury during the fight. He has not been able to walk properly since and it’s now affecting his lower back.
The veteran’s life hasn’t been easy. He has recently gone from being homeless to staying at the Veterans Health Care System in Temple where he is receiving treatment and participating in the VA’s work training program.
To help him get through the month, Rayford relies on his disability benefits, but isn’t enough to cover food expenses. However, the arrival of the Food Bank’s Mobile Food Pantry distribution at the VA is helping Rayford bridge the gap between his disability checks.
“That is my only income, and this bridges the gap between check days and I am very grateful for it. And we really appreciate whoever is doing this; we really appreciate it. It’s not something we are doing because it is here, we really need it,” Rayford said.
Without a car, having the distribution at the VA makes it a lot easier for Rayford to get the nourishing meals he needs. All he has to do is walk from the VA to the parking lot.
At the distribution Rayford received pantry staples, fresh produce and protein to take home. He was grateful to get food he could make in the microwave, since he doesn’t have a stove.
“The food is great, I got some chicken, I got some vegetables, I got some fresh fruit, and it’s going to sustain me. It’s much needed and it’s going to be great. I am grateful for it, and it is very nutritious,” Rayford said.
As he gets back on his feet, Rayford is excited for the job fair happening at the VA. He hopes to land a job to be help him get a place of his own and a car. Meanwhile, he’s grateful for all the help he has received.
“Thank you so very much whoever you are… it’s really appreciated, your labor is not in vain,” he said.