Citing a goal to provide 50,000 food kits to veterans in New England with limited access to food due to COVID-19, leadership at Massachusetts Military Support Foundation (MMSF) say their mission is in jeopardy.

“We are working with a very vulnerable population right now and the demand keeps going up,” said Don Cox, president of MMSF. “Until COVID-19, we had always addressed this need on our own, but that is not possible anymore.”

It is not possible, he said, due to institutional food supply chain issues.

“For the last 2 months, we have been relying on residential food supply chains, but that has put a tremendous amount of pressure on the entire industry,” he said. “Unless we can get some help from towns, government agencies or others, we won’t be able to meet the needs of our veterans.”

According to John Ford of Veterans Northeast Outreach Center (VNOC), one of nearly 3-dozen agencies that benefit from the work performed by MMSF, the need for inter-agency collaboration is “more crucial than ever.”

Founded in 1985, VNOC serves thousands of veterans and their families annually in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire.

“When Don explained the situation to me, I realized VNOC and similar agencies need to help MMSF solve these larger issues,” said Ford, who has spent the past week “hunting down refrigeration units.”

“MMSF is a vital cog in the food supply chain equation for veterans across New England,” he added.

Cox agrees.

“Our industry needs access to help, too,” he said. “We are working as smart and lean as possible, but we cannot do this alone anymore.”

Since launching its COVID-19 Vital Food Kit Initiative, MMSF has packed more than 27,000 boxes for veterans.

“The story here is much bigger than the needs of just VNOC,” said Ford. “This is about our veterans and an entire industry struggling to meet a very real need. We must find a way to serve those who have served us.”

To learn more about MMSF, visit www.mmsfi.org.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT MMSF AND VNOC

For veterans throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire who have limited access to food due to the coronavirus, USA for Veterans and Military (USA4VETS) and Massachusetts Military Support Foundation have teamed up with Veterans Northeast Outreach Center to distribute meal boxes containing non-perishable, well balanced meals for veterans in need. Each food package contains enough food and nutritionist-developed recipes for two people for two weeks.