Facing Hunger in Maryland: U.S. Army Veteran Linda Bullock | Maryland Food Bank
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Facing Hunger in Maryland: U.S. Army Veteran Linda Bullock

March 5, 2020

From Serving Her Country to Being Served at Her Local Pantry

When we met Linda Bullock in Baltimore City’s Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, she was having one of her good days.

Her PTSD, a result of serving 26 years in the military, usually keeps her from being around crowds. Crowds like the people waiting for food assistance at New Life Fellowship’s food pantry. And crowds like those in the workplace.

But today, she felt okay. Today she was hopeful.

“I usually get here earlier so I can get in and get out,” Linda said, smiling. “I try to deal with it, but it’s hard. Sometimes I can get out, sometimes I can’t.”

Linda’s psychological trauma has impacted just about every aspect of her life. She was a surgical technician in the military, but has been unable to work since returning from Afghanistan in 2010 due to her severe PTSD.

“I loved my job. But when I came back from Afghanistan and had seen one of my soldiers that I was downrange with, I just lost it.”

“Even with money that I get, it’s still not enough with the bills that I have and trying to maintain.”

LINDA BULLOCK

When Maintaining is Enough

Linda receives medical care from the V.A., but even with the help, she still struggles.

“Even with money that I get, it’s still not enough with the bills that I have and trying to maintain.”

For Linda, “maintain” has its own definition. Like with many of the hundreds of thousands of veterans in Maryland, she faces a daily battle against the mental and physical scars of military service.

Being able to count on the Maryland Food Bank to provide food through New Life Fellowship has made all the difference in Linda’s life. Having a reliable source of food means that she can not only maintain but continue to recuperate and find her strength.

ladle filling a soup bowl

Staying Fit, Staying Strong

Linda is an athletic woman. Standing with a strong posture, her multiple decades of military service shines through. The trauma of her service hasn’t removed her spark, not by a long shot.

“I love to swim. I love sports. I’m a Ravens fanatic,” Linda said, wearing a Ravens Santa Claus-style hat on a cold December day. “Everybody knows not to call me on Sundays.”

Linda is committed to maintaining her health. With back and knee issues, she spends most of her energy rehabilitating and working with doctors at the VA hospital.

“I go to the VA for everything right now. I’m going for acupuncture for my back. I go for aqua therapy for my back and knees. I’m managing, I do the best I can.”

Transitioning back into civilian life can be difficult for veterans, especially when they face mental and physical health challenges. But with support from the Maryland Food Bank, and its statewide network of community partners, veterans like Linda don’t have to choose between medical treatment and eating.

“You still see a lot of people on the streets hungry all the time…they choose between paying a bill, getting medicine or getting to eat, that’s not good.”

LINDA BULLOCK

Old Habits are Tough to Break

The U.S. military is often made up of individuals who put the needs of the group before their own, and Linda is no exception.

“Not only do I get food for myself and my family, but while I am here, I help the elderly who are struggling physically.”

An active member of her community, Linda knows these folks well and empathizes with their struggles.

“You still see a lot of people on the streets hungry all the time…they choose between paying a bill, getting medicine or getting to eat, that’s not good.”

Praying For Another “Good Day”

Linda doesn’t know when her PTSD will strike. She doesn’t go to bed knowing if the next day will be a good day or a bad day. But knowing the Maryland Food Bank is here for her means she has one less thing to worry about and can focus on herself.

Her struggles are all too common in our state. No one knows what kind of challenges the next day holds. Whether it’s emotional scarring, unexpected unemployment, or high medical bills, many of us are closer to facing hunger than we might realize.

“It’s an awesome thing that food pantries are available, but the ones they have are not enough. Times have not gotten better like they advertise on the news – a lot of people are still hungry.”

That’s why the Maryland Food Bank is here: to feed people, strengthen communities, and end hunger for more Marylanders.

We Need Your Help

Programs, campaigns, and educational outreach at the Maryland Food Bank has always relied on the philanthropic support of charitable individuals like you.

Much like our food distribution efforts, outreach activities at the Maryland Food Bank rely on generous donations of money and time.

We hope you’ll consider a contribution.

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