A 2023 RAND Corp. research study shows nearly 1.4 million veterans suffer from inadequate food resources. Food insecurity can lead to severe physical and mental health issues. Unfortunately, there is a stigma and shame component attached to this issue, which is part of why Alaska Warrior Partnership (AKWP) conducts outreach in the community and find veterans who may not otherwise reach out. This was the case for Wilson Hicks*, an Air Force veteran (’71-’74), who was seeking aid with meal assistance when he met AKWP at a local resource fair.
Wilson was wandering the rows of a local resource fair that AKWP was participating in when Program Lead Jessy Lakin approached him. After some introductions, Jessy asked Wilson if he got what he needed out of the event. Wilson explained that though there were plenty of services available at the fair, he felt defeated that he still could not find the service he sought.
“I now don't have to worry about feeding myself. Now I have this relief that is wonderful to have! It makes me very happy! It's nice to know that people care.” – Air Force Veteran
After a quick intake, the AKWP team discovered the warrior lived alone, had little camaraderie, and was struggling to prepare adequate meals for himself. The warrior elaborated that he had been eating TV dinners for a decade to sustain himself; though he couldn’t stand the taste, it was his only option. Wilson told the team that sometimes days go by when he does not eat due to lack of interest and has been stressed over the fear of starving to death. Understanding Wilson’s hardships, the AKWP team connected him with Wasilla Area Seniors, Inc. (WASI) to provide him with the support he needed.
We are happy to report that Wilson is now relieved of this stress and happy for the future. We will keep a line of communication with him to ensure his needs are met. AKWP is proud to support veterans like Wilson through their highs and lows, reminding them they are not alone. AKWP stands with and for our community’s veterans.
*Wilson is an alias created to protect the identity of the individual.
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