Jacksonville USO assists battle food insecurity for navy people

Melissa Recker and Monica Snelling, customers of the Naval Station Mayport neighborhood, have grow to be industry experts in stretching military family members budgets. 

Recker is a single mom of four — such as just one child with a wide range of medical conditions — who missing her lively-duty partner in 2020 to cardiac arrest. Snelling is raising five children, with her partner “in and out” on deployments on the USS Thomas Hudner. 

“We stay paycheck to paycheck,” Recker explained.

But she and Snelling have been given a hand-up from the Better Jacksonville Region USO‘s Nutritious Army Family members Initiative that provides accessibility to a meals pantry as very well as lessons in nutritious living and cooking, amongst other issues. The USO also hosts “no dough” dinners to help stretch paychecks and delivers holiday getaway food items baskets.

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That help, the two women said, has been a godsend.

“This system has helped equilibrium out our grocery funds, and with that we have been equipped to pay down some of our personal debt quicker than if we didn’t get the enable,” Snelling said. 

Recker explained, “It has manufactured a positive variance in my family’s existence, diminished tension and fear.” 

Melissa Recker and two of her four children. She lost her Mayport-based active-duty husband in 2020 to cardiac arrest.

‘Home away from home’

Recognized in 1979, the region USO’s centers at Mayport, Jacksonville Naval Air Station and Jacksonville Worldwide Airport give a wide variety of programs to make improvements to the excellent of existence for about 250,000 energetic-responsibility military and their people, as effectively as present a “dwelling away from residence” environment.

The Wellness Navy Family members Initiative at Mayport introduced in 2019 focusing on wellbeing, wellness and nutrition education and learning. Main partners are Feeding Northeast Florida, a regional food bank the Shorelines Emergency Aid Ministry, or BEAM, which helps low-profits inhabitants in Jacksonville’s beaches communities and Humana Military, a single of the primary contractors for managed health treatment for assistance users, people and retirees.

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