Food Pantry Now Open at Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Lincoln's Promise Food PantryMeredith Kenny, Assistant Chief of Nutrition and Food Services at Coatesville VAMC is seen stocking the shelves with groceries provided by the Chester County Food Bank on June 7, 2022. (Submitted Image)

COATESVILLE, PA — Veterans in Chester County now have a food pantry to turn to for assistance. The pantry recently opened at the Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). It provides food and other necessary items to Veterans who are struggling to afford enough food for themselves and their families. This is a much-needed resource, and the hope is that it will help many Veterans in the area get back on their feet.

The new Lincoln’s Promise Food Pantry is the result of the Chester County Food Bank and the Coatesville VAMC’s longstanding collaborative efforts to address food insecurity in Chester County. The food pantry will provide supplemental food assistance to Veterans who are struggling to make ends meet.

“We want to make sure Veterans are eating and despite the phenomenal work of Chester County community organizations, there are gaps in programs and services that leave food insecure Veterans wondering where to turn,” said Meredith Kenny, Assistant Chief of Nutrition and Food Services. “Support from the Lincoln’s Promise Food Pantry is supplemental to any support Veterans may already be receiving and is designed to help fill in those gaps.”

The food pantry is named in honor of President Abraham Lincoln, who famously said, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” The Lincoln’s Promise Food Pantry will provide a much-needed safety net for Veterans in need.

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Accepting Donations

The goal of the pantry is to provide healthy food options for Veterans in need, as well as to reduce food insecurity among this population.

Chester County Food Bank donated the initial food supplies needed to stock the shelves, but pantry manager Kenny is hopeful that the pantry can eventually collect enough donations on its own to sustain the communities Veterans.

Organizations and individuals looking to donate to the Lincoln’s Promise Food Pantry may contact Voluntary Services at 610-384-7711, extension 4228.

How it works

Eligibility to use the pantry does not depend on an income threshold. Veterans do not need a referral to use the pantry; they can self-refer by contacting a Coatesville VAMC nutrition specialist.

The pantry is for Veterans whether they just need a one-time holdover, or they need longer-term support and wish to shop with us each month. The amount of food allowed is based on the number of people living in the Veteran’s household.

Lincoln’s Promise is primarily a ‘choice pantry’ meaning Veterans can shop the pantry and select the items they prefer to eat and there is always a supply of prepared boxes of food ready to place in the hands of a Veteran in immediate need. Veterans are also welcome to participate in the program’s monthly prepared box program where they can receive a selection of food that changes each month.

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This program is especially beneficial for those who may have difficulty getting to the pantry or making choices due to health conditions. The promise is that no Veteran will go hungry and the program will work with each individual to ensure they get the assistance they need.

Location and Hours

Lincoln’s Promise Food Pantry is located in building 57 on the basement level at Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and is open on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from noon until 3 p.m.

Appointments are not necessary, but any Veteran who has questions or who would like to schedule a private appointment outside of those hours may call 610-384-7711, extension 3728 to speak to a nutrition specialist.

The food pantry is stocked with non-perishable food items as well as fresh fruits and vegetables, and the staff is committed to providing Veterans with the resources they need to maintain a healthy diet.

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Partnership History

The Coatesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) first partnered with Chester County Foodbank to bring the Fresh2You Mobile Market onto their campus approximately four years ago.

The Mobile Market visits the Coatesville VAMC campus each Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., offering Veterans and their families access to fresh and healthy food.

Over the last few years, Veterans participating in the gardening program at the Coatesville VAMC have been donating their excess produce to the Chester County Foodbank throughout the growing season.

This partnership has evolved over time, and is now a key part of the mission of both organizations. Through this partnership, Veterans are able to give back to a community that never forgets them.

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