Meet Michael: Vietnam Veteran, Former Client, Always Giving

Meet Michael, a Vietnam-era U.S. Marine Corps veteran and one of our former clients whom we met at the New Mexico Veterans’ Integration Center (VIC) recently. Ten years ago, Michael was living homeless in Albuquerque when VIC first opened its doors.

“I was beyond fortunate to find them when I did,” Michael told us. “I just didn’t know my odds of making it for much longer, no job, no steady food.” Once Michael settled into their short-term housing program, Michael said he dove into earning some money to save with VIC’s food distribution program while he built up cooking skills and looked for a steadier place to live. A few years later, Michael found that steady place to live right in Albuquerque with enough money saved up and a stable position to continue supporting himself.

Yet, Michael was filled with gratitude for his time with VIC and to this day, he volunteers at VIC four days per week, starting each of those shifts by 7:35 in the morning.

“This place and what Roadrunner does to make the food possible here makes a great impact,” Michael reflected with us. “To go from homeless to having a place of your own just makes me want to help my fellow vets all the more.” With tears in his eyes, Michael looked across the room and thanked everyone who helped him not only get the food he needed for nourishment. He also thanked other VIC staff who assisted him in securing his full Social Security and veteran’s benefits which have helped him greatly arrive at where he is now.

Every time you give food or financial or volunteer support to Roadrunner, you are helping veterans like Michael fight AND win in their struggles against veteran homelessness and veteran hunger. Thus, in no small way, you are doing public service of your own in making our veterans, making VIC, making Roadrunner, and ultimately making our communities stronger and more food secure.

Matthew Young is Communications Coordinator at Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico. If you have questions or comments for Matthew on this post or on past ones of his, you can comment below; call him at 505.349.8845; or e-mail him at

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