Local Veterans Receive Meals from South Florida Institute on Aging (SoFIA)

South Florida Institute on Aging (SoFIA), a non-profit dedicated to bettering the socio-economic lives of South Florida’s aging community, addressed the growing issue of food insecurity among local veterans by distributing meals to those who are most disadvantaged.

“The pandemic has really taken its toll on many of the veterans we serve, especially those who are mentored through the Veterans Helping Veterans program,” said Nikki Austin-Shipp, SoFIA president and CEO. “Our dedicated staff, some of whom are also veterans, continues to actively advocate for these individuals who are facing tremendous financial concerns. We are thankful to be able to give back during the holiday season to those who have given so much for our country.”

Thanksgiving meals were available to veterans who are supported through SoFIA’s veteran mentor, companion and relief programs, SoFIA veteran volunteers and local elderly veterans who are food insecure and living in isolation.

“COVID has caused so much anxiety and confusion among veterans, especially those who are being rehabilitated through the Veterans Treatment Court and mentored by SoFIA volunteers,” said decorated army veteran Thomas Thompson, SoFIA’s manager of veteran services.  “Someone needs to step in and fill the gap and SoFIA is here to do that.”

Along with leading the Thanksgiving drive, Thompson has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic to help more than 25 veteran families by delivering food and delaying evictions, while the Veteran Treatment Court has been delayed due to closings.

With generous donations from local grocery stores, volunteers and staff at SoFIA filled and distributed a bountiful pre-cooked Thanksgiving meal that included a turkey, cornbread dressing, mashed potatoes, cranberry relish and pie. Bags of uncooked ingredients were distributed to those veterans who preferred to cook at home.

SoFIA’s veteran services and programs are made possible with the support of AmeriCorps Seniors and the Francis A. and Adeline M. Sines Memorial Fund at the Community Foundation of Broward. SoFIA continues to provide innovative services tailored to meet seniors’ caregiving and respite, civic engagement and economic security needs. Visit www.theSoFIA.org for more information about how SoFIA is helping veterans who are struggling and need of assistance transitioning to civilian life.