MASON CITY, Ia – A new statistic is coming out of a study by the University of Minnesota. Researchers looked at how many veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars don’t always have access to food, and are in danger of going hungry.
Aaron Bordsen has experienced more than his share of hardships since coming back from deployment in our nation’s most recent war.
“Pretty much just homeless, living on people’s couches, staying with family and friends and just trying to get my life back on track,” describes Bordsen.
He’s is just one of the reported 27% of veterans from the Afghanistan war who cannot afford to put food on the table.
When asked why he thinks that number is so devastatingly high, Bordsen has plenty of answers.” For one, he says the nation he left is not the same one he came back to.”
“You leave when the country is in one state and, you come back and it’s in a different, I mean gas prices shot up to a number that you’ve never heard of and food goes up because the cost of gas,” adds Bordsen.
It’s hard to afford gas and more importantly food while adjusting back to civilian life and Borsden says veterans don’t always have the resources they need.
“When I came back, I was promised a transition team and a lot of resources were going to be available to me. I mean, I’ve been dealing with you know, with the failed promises over and over again,” he says.
As for all the hardships, Bordsen is not alone.
Amanda Ragan runs the North Iowa Community Kitchen and says the number of veterans utilizing their free meal service is high.
“We have a large group of individuals that have served the country and we are kind of surprised by that amount. I say that we probably say about 11%,” says Ragan.
Which is 70-80 people in the Mason City area alone.
When it comes to resources, Ragan says they try to get them the help they need to move forward.
“They certainly did their share for all of us. We’d certainly want to make sure that we provide services for them,” she says.
Services that are needed by more people all the time.
“So many of my friends are in the same situations,” says Bordsen.
Some area resources for veterans include: FAVA, the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank, Department of Human Services, SNAP and North Iowa Community Action.