QC Veterans Outreach Center opens new weekly grocery store for vets

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- Veterans will now have a weekly resource for food, toiletries and more at the Quad City Veterans Outreach Center.

It's called the Veteran's Marketplace, which will open every Wednesday from 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. in Davenport.

The program is replacing the center's previous monthly food basket. The center's founder, Lola VanDeWalle says the marketplace will be able to give veterans up to 15 times more food than before.

"It's a great need," VanDeWalle says. "It's very exciting to reach more and more veterans, and say 'Thank you' to them."

The marketplace looks like a small grocery, and will allow the center to have veterans line up inside, instead of outside in years past. That means more people, who couldn't stand in line because of the weather or health issues before, will now be able to access the grocery store.

The marketplace isn't just about the free groceries -- it's also about the camaraderie.

"It's really fun to be around fellow veterans," army veteran Dennis Hackbarth says. "I may not have been in (the war) they were, but like I said, we all have stories, and we can collide and come together with those stories."

Both Hackbarth and VanDeWalle say many veterans need this assistance to take care of themselves and their families.

"When you're on a fixed income, it's very hard to get by on what we get," Hackbarth says. "It makes it hard to get through the whole month, so this helps out a lot."

VanDeWalle says that it could be anyone that needs help from a center like this, and she calls it a "hand up," not a "hand out."

"A lot of people ask me if we just take care of the homeless veterans," she says. "No, (it could be) your next door neighbor, maybe grandparents raising their grandkids when they didn't know they would have to before. It may be loss of a job, or health."

The marketplace is open to all veterans who are members of the outreach center. Located at 2720 Locust Street, Davenport, Iowa, the center runs on volunteers and donations.

For more information or to donate or volunteer, visit their website.

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