It’s a rainy day in Clarksville, Tennessee. Despite the cloud cover and raindrops, there’s excitement in the air. Today, military families will receive food, household essentials and much more.
The hidden reality for many men and women who serve our country is one of struggle. Many of them live paycheck to paycheck. An estimated 160,000 military families experienced difficulty putting food on the table in 2020. Troops in junior enlisted ranks are especially vulnerable to food insecurity — almost 30 percent need help.
That’s why Joe and Cathi Maynard jumped in to help and sponsored today’s distribution event called Operation Honor. They remember what it was like to be a young military family, struggling to make ends meet and to put food on the table.
“We got involved with this because we’ve been there,” says Joe, who spent most of his Army career as a prime power production specialist with the Corps of Engineers. “We remember the days when, two days before payday, you sometimes had to decide whether to pay bills or buy food instead. We know it’s especially tough when you’re young and have children.”
When Operation Honor was over, 800 families received food, essentials and children’s toys and books. Most of the families helped were affiliated with the nearby U.S. Army base Fort Campbell.
“We want to honor veterans, family members and active-duty soldiers and military in our community,” says Charlie Koon, Vice President of F&M Bank. “It’s a great opportunity for us to give back. There’s a lot of food insecurity across the nation, and we want to help solve that problem.”
F&M Bank also partnered with the Maynards to make this event happen.
Dana, whose husband is at Fort Campbell, was grateful for the help. They are the parents of a little boy still in diapers, with another on the way. Finances are tight.
“Inflation is a real thing right now,” she says, “so this really helps.”
For Dana, there’s constant worry. Mostly, she worries about when her husband might be deployed, leaving her to parent two small children by herself. But today’s event brought some peace of mind.
“It’s scary,” Dana says. “So, this is very good, because it gives back to the soldiers and their families.”
For the Maynards, families at Fort Campbell like Dana’s are near and dear. Joe and Cathi met at Fort Campbell, their son retired from the Army while there, and their grandson is on active duty at the base right now. When they heard about the need in the area, they didn’t hesitate to help.
“The Good Lord has been good to us,” says Joe, “so we want to find ways to give back. We want to leave a little bit of legacy for our family and our community.”
The couple remembers that it was kindness – like what’s happening today at the food distribution – that got them through the tough times.
“Sometimes just a little bright spark is all it takes to get you through. That's why it helps just to give people a lift,” says Joe.
That’s what so many of our donors do – give people a lift when they need it. Your donations give people hope, like the Maynards do, and we are so grateful to you for sharing your love and kindness.