From millionaire to food bank, but Arno is happier than ever

An eventful life. That’s how you can safely call the existence of Arno van Veen from Woudrichem. He was once a millionaire. But he went bankrupt, became ill and was left with nothing but debts. Despite all this misery, Arno now feels happier than ever.

Arno said he was a successful entrepreneur. “In my heyday, I could, so to speak, buy and do whatever I wanted. I dealt in real estate, had several companies, employees, a big house and expensive cars.”

Yet two years ago, Arno was forced to turn to the food bank. “I have also had less great successes. In the end I lost everything and was left with debts.”

“I have nothing but I have everything.”

Disaster piled up in Arno’s life at breakneck speed. “I have experienced everything you don’t want to experience. I had a heart attack. And I went bankrupt. I have made mistakes myself, but I have also been cheated and robbed. I lost friends and family during that time. And five years ago I was told that I had metastatic lung cancer and would only live six months.”

But despite all this misery, Arno now feels happier than ever. “I have nothing but at the same time I have everything. Because I am still here, against all odds.”

“The first time to the food bank was not a hurdle but a whole mountain.”

Arno is starting to get his life back on track. Partly thanks to the help of Food Bank-Altena. “Two years ago I knocked on this door. The first time I went to the food bank, I didn’t have to cross a threshold but an entire mountain. I felt very watched. I can imagine that many people do not dare to take this step. But it has helped me enormously. That’s why I hope more people dare to take off their masks. Go past the shame, use the food bank and accept the help that people offer you.”

Arno no longer lives in a villa but in a rental house. His big cars have been exchanged for a bicycle. “I look at wealth very differently these days. You can have anything from me that has to do with property, it doesn’t interest me anymore. When you have been ill and get better, then you only know what wealth is.”

“Through all my setbacks, I hope to be able to show people that you can always bounce back.”

Arno hopes that he can help other people by sharing his story. “Through all my setbacks, I hope to be able to show people that you can always get back up again. I am still alive against all expectations. I have the feeling that I can be here to do something beautiful. That I get a few more years to help others.”

Arno wants his site removing the shame of poverty and the food bank. “Many people are afraid to cross that threshold. But dare to do it, it helped me on the way back.”