GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A policy change over at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans has some people asking questions regarding food services for guests.
The Michigan Department of Military and Veteran Affairs announced in a newsletter in mid-May that changes were coming to guest food services at the facility.
A Veterans Affairs survey found a license for the facility prevents staff from serving visitors that aren’t residents at the Home for Veterans.
“The new policy as of June 1 is that only members, which is what we call our residents, can go through the cafeteria line in the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans,” said Loren Devol with the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. “Anybody can still come in, they can eat in our dining hall, we’re still very welcoming of family and friends that want to come in and dine with their families that live here. They just can’t unfortunately go through the cafeteria line anymore.”
Some people concerned about not being able to eat with your loved one at a place they call home, simply isn’t fair.
“Families driving in from Pontiac, Detroit, Saginaw, wherever, and they can’t sit down and break bread with their family,” said Catherine Buckley.
Catherine Buckley served in the U.S. Navy for a decade. Even though she doesn’t currently have a family member at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, that isn’t stopping her from voicing her concerns over the recent policy change.
“It’s a way to enter into a conversation. That’s what you do around the table. It’s what they did when they lived at home,” said Buckley. “If it is genuinely a home, then let’s treat it like a home.”
DeVol says those avenues are still available at the facility, including bringing in food to share with loved ones.
“If they want to bring a pizza and share it with Dad or Grandpa, they’re more than welcome to come in here and do that,” said DeVol.
Veteran’s Affairs said that it will host a meeting to address questions and concerned from loved ones on June 19th at 9 a.m. That will include members of the agencies Board of Managers, which oversees both the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans and the Jacobetti Home for Veterans.