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Fourteen years ago, Army National Guard veteran Wiloner and her son moved to Indianapolis. They came so her son, 16-year-old Michael, could play football for Ben Davis High School.
After realizing it would not work to live with her brother, Wiloner became homeless. As they stayed at a local shelter, HVAF case workers came to her and let her know about its programs and services. Before you knew it, Wiloner and Michael had a place to call home.
Since then, the Army veteran continues to take advantage of the many services HVAF provides. HVAF’s clothing pantry ensured Michael had clothes to wear while playing football and studying at University of St. Francis. And Wiloner knew she never had to worry about going hungry, thanks to the food pantry.
“Because of the kindness and the resources, I came year after year,” Wiloner said. “I always knew if I had a situation, I could come here to HVAF.”
In 2018, Wiloner fell on some hard times once again. She experienced roaches in her apartment and needed to leave. Thankfully, she remembered HVAF and came to the front desk to let HVAF’s Community Center Specialist Katie know.
“I told her, ‘Miss Katie, I’m homeless.’ And she said, ‘No you’re not.’ And before I could get home, (HVAF Case Manager) Jonathan was calling me.”
Jonathan helped Wiloner move into a beautiful one-bedroom apartment, and even supplied her with a new bed and living room furniture. She loved working with him because he always helped her at all times.
Wiloner said she is so thankful for Katie’s friendliness and cheerfulness.
“Katie doesn’t beat around the bush, when she says she’s going to do something she will come through,” Wiloner said. “It won’t be a week or a few days, she will get the information right to you. I’ve always appreciated that.”
Katie said she loves to go above and beyond for her. She thinks Wiloner is an awesome person with a wonderful spirit.
“I have a soft spot for female veterans in my heart,” Katie said. “She can call me any time and talk with me. I will always be her point of contact when it comes to HVAF.”
In February 2021, Wiloner stopped by the pantry to receive some food. She does not have to stop by as often anymore, but she is thankful the organization still supports her.
“I’m glad there is a program like this for veterans. Because we do need help. It’s nice to know that I won’t go hungry if I don’t have food,” Wiloner said. “I know if I need more information and resources, I can come here. I know it’s going to be with no judgement and no disrespect. And I appreciate that because it hurts sometimes to ask for help. But when you know you’re not being judged it’s easier to ask.”