CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The USO has many sayings, one of which is: a home away from home. The USO South Texas's food pantry is bringing that motto to life.
The USO South Texas Food Pantry was put to good use during the partial government shutdown last year, and now during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has taken on an even greater role.
"We have some families that literally take advantage of it once a week, and that is what we hope they do," said USO South Texas Executive Director Sarah Banta.
The food pantry is free to all active-duty military members and their families, and is helping those families spend less during a time when every dollar counts. They are able to use the pantry as much as they want, and it is relatively quiet at times.
It also allows families to get groceries in a safe environment, with plenty of social-distancing practices in place when they pick up their food.
"The last thing we need is a member of our military or their family members getting sick," Banta said.
Families are able to order their food through the USO South Texas' website. The website has all of the products listed, and a customer can select what they want and what time they want to pick it up.
The available food and supplies comes at no cost to the USO South Texas: It is made up of generous donations from groups such as H-E-B and the United Way of the Coastal Bend.
The United Way's local chapter began a COVID-19 relief fund in March and has received more than $650,000 in donations for it. All of that money has been given to nonprofit organizations, and the USO is one of them.
"I think it is really important to support the military as much as we can," said United Way of the Coastal Bend President and CEO Libby Averyt.
The pantry is stocked with essentials such as canned goods, diapers, baby food, etc., making sure that those who protect our country have security of their own during this crisis.
Those interested in using the food pantry can fill out a form here.