Without Richard ‘Dick’ Simpson, the American Legion Post 44 Food Pantry never would have existed in the first place. A proud member of the Legion for years, he decided to arrange this partnership with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank after seeing a lot of food insecurity in his veteran community. Coming up on the two-year mark, Dick— concurrently the director and a client of the pantry— is proud of the progress they have made all around.
“You see the need…Makes it nice. These people are very receptive to the program and they’re very appreciative. The people working out here have a good time when they’re doing it and just have a good comradery with the clients.”
Dick, who is also a veteran of the Naval Reserves, stresses that every little bit of food assistance helps. Dick has become comfortable with his roles on both sides of the table but understands that other veterans in-need may have difficulty accepting the help. When asked how he connects to his fellow clients through his dual-edged perspective, he pauses to give a thoughtful response.
“It’s definitely helped me understand how they feel and what they’ve been through (regarding the other veterans) … (But) I’ve done it. I use myself as an example. I say, ‘You guys know, I do it.’ It’s not what I consider a handout, it’s a step up—makes people’s lives easier.”