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 Warrington, a naval destroyer stationed 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 took seven days to tow us back to Subic Bay, and the ship was decommissioned. 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. He takes about a dozen medications a day, and finds it difficult to keep food in the house day to day.
“My bills got to get paid, because I don’t want to be homeless,” Mr. Cola said. “But Second Harvest helps immensely, because groceries are the last on my list.”
We spoke to Mr. Cola 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.
“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. Because of you, he has access to a regular supply of healthy food in his neighborhood – a service that would not exist without your support.
Join the fight to end hunger in South Louisiana.
A $1 donation helps provide 3 meals.
or go to www.no-hunger.org for more information.
Story and photos by Second Harvest Food Bank.