“The food we get from the veterans hospital Mobile Market goes a long way when you’re feeding five.”
Erich, a retired U.S. Army medic who served in Iraq, works as a physical therapy assistant at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital in Bedford and is the sole breadwinner for his family of five.
“It’s a lot of mouths to feed,” Erich said.
Recently, The Greater Boston Food Bank partnered with the hospital to launch a free produce Mobile Market. Every month, patients and staff in need receive 25-30 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The Mobile Market provides a week’s worth of food for Erich’s family, which includes three teenagers—ages 15, 16 and 18—who are all active in competitive sports.
“The food we get from the veterans hospital Mobile Market goes a long way when you’re feeding five,” he said. “I want my family to eat well, and this enables me to do that.”
Erich, 49, served in a war hospital in Iraq from 2006 to 2007, and he has witnessed the struggle some veterans have transitioning back to civilian life.
“They’re just not used to asking for help,” Erich said. “They are so used to being self-sufficient.”
Many veterans who previously would not have asked for help are frequenting the free produce distribution, according to Erich.
“I tell as many people as I can about the Mobile Market, and they are always amazed at how much food they bring home and the quality of the food,” Erich said. “Veterans didn’t ask for anything in return [for serving]. To have a civilian organization reaching out and helping them—it goes so much farther than they could ever imagine.”