Feeding South Florida Celebrates Black History Month: Spotlight on Food Distribution Partner Agency Make a Wish Veterans

As Black History Month comes to an end, we’re excited to shine a spotlight on Make a Wish Veterans, Inc. – a remarkable organization and valued partner of Feeding South Florida, their dedication to uplifting and assisting individuals in need has left a lasting impact on the community.

Founded nearly two decades ago by Vietnam War veteran Charles Buford, Make a Wish Veterans continues its meaningful mission. Following Charles’s passing in 2014, Princess Fuller, now Director and Food Distribution Manager, stepped in to fill the big shoes. Fueled by a deep sense of dedication, Princess, alongside Melinda Buford, Charles’s widow, took on leadership roles, ensuring the organization’s mission endured and that his legacy is kept alive.

Nestled in the heart of Opa-Locka, Make a Wish Veterans has fostered a tight-knit community. Here, every individual is known by name, and regardless of circumstance, genuine love and respect form the foundation of their approach. Since its inception, the organization has become synonymous with compassion, leaving a lasting impact on the lives of those they serve.

Their primary purpose emphasizes providing essential support to veterans facing challenges; however, over time their mission has extended beyond just veterans to encompass the broader community, including low-income families who depend on their weekly food distributions, ensuring that nourishing meals reach those who are most in need.

They also run a seniors program and currently feed around 125 seniors monthly. This outreach effort plays a pivotal role in uplifting the community residing in economically disadvantaged areas, showcasing our dedication to making a positive impact on the lives of those we serve.

When asked to share her journey and motivation in food assistance, Princess shared, ‘I’ve been devoted to this program since 2008, inspired by my past as a recipient. Having experienced the challenges of going without, I developed deep empathy and a sincere passion for helping those in need. My commitment is rooted in the gratitude I feel for the support I received when I was in their shoes” – a testament to the transformative impact of compassionate assistance.

We were privileged to chat with Erma Thomas, who, since 2010, has devoted her time to supporting Make a Wish Veterans alongside Princess. When asked about her motivation, Erma succinctly shared that her deep-seated love for helping people is the driving force behind her commitment.

Their future endeavors involve securing additional funding to sustain and expand their program. The goal is to reach and assist as many people as possible, particularly in response to the heightened demand since the onset of COVID. While the program’s impact has doubled, sustaining their community service is challenging without sufficient financial support. Furthermore, they actively seek volunteers to enhance the program’s reach and effectiveness.

Princess emphasized the significance of comprehending the socio-economic challenges confronting African Americans, particularly within impoverished demographics. In this community, many individuals grapple with the complexities of the low-income bracket, influencing family dynamics. Furthermore, a widespread lack of awareness about available resources complicates matters. Closing this knowledge gap becomes crucial for delivering essential assistance.

Princess expressed deep appreciation for the unwavering support from Feeding South Florida. She emphasized that, even amid the challenges of relocating from their original site, Feeding South Florida remained steadfast, providing crucial food resources essential for sustaining their impactful work.

Princess Fuller’s commitment to Make a Wish Veterans truly embodies the spirit of service that characterizes Black History Month. She continues to make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of veterans and low-income families in Miami-Dade. This Black History Month, let us celebrate individuals like Princess, whose significant contributions significantly enhance the well-being of our communities.

Black History Month stands as a poignant reminder of the enduring legacy marked by resilience, innovation, and community solidarity. In collaboration with these outstanding agencies, Feeding South Florida takes pride in its commitment to the collective effort against hunger and the promotion of equitable access to food.

As we commemorate the vibrant tapestry of Black history and culture, let us reiterate our dedication to constructing a future where every individual has the chance to flourish, nurtured not only by sustenance but also by the support of a united community.

If you are inspired by the transformative efforts of Feeding South Florida and our esteemed partner, Make a Wish Veterans, in our relentless pursuit to eradicate hunger and create a positive community impact, we invite you to join our cause. Explore opportunities to make a difference by visiting our website. There, you’ll find a range of ways to get involved and contribute to the collective positive change we are fostering in the community.

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