November marks the beginning of the holiday season. While most welcome the winter events and festivities, many annually face a much more bleak reality: loneliness during a time of the year associated with gatherings and/or furthered inability to make ends meet and provide for their families.
This year is no different, and due to to the rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide, further isolation and uncertainty looms in the minds of many veterans and their families.
In an effort to curb many of the negative factors associated with the holiday season, AMVETS, in partnership with FirstEnergy Corp., hosted several socially-distanced food drives, delivered hundreds of hot meals, and raised money for food pantries in desperate need of funding throughout the month of November, essentially feeding thousands of veterans and families in need. Below are just a few of the events held throughout November.
This Thanksgiving Day, several veteran transition homes and community clinics throughout Washington D.C. were visited by AMVETS National Headquarters staff members and volunteers delivering meals to local veterans.
More than 40 vehicles went through the drive-thru before 3 p.m., and Post 38 Commander Ron Everhart said the group was set up to distribute food to 200 vehicles, “no questions asked.”
In addition to the 103 boxes that were handed out, the post had some assorted leftover food that couldn’t be organized into complete packages for the drive-up program. That food will be donated to a local nonprofit organization to be determined by post leaders.
The giveaway at AMVETS Post 187 in Towanda, PA, began at noon and ran until 4 p.m. and served approximately 215 families.
On Saturday, First Energy and AMVETS partnered to host a veterans food drive in Struthers with items from Gleaners Food Bank and Nemenz IGA. Jeremiah Gorkos, General Manager, Substation Services, Ohio Edison said they’ve hosted a few food drives this year but this weekend’s had the biggest turnout. Gorkos said they’ve been able to fill over 200 cars with fresh food.
AMVETS saw a tremendous amount of participation in the midwest/mid-Atlantic region, with Maryland AMVETS Post 10 serving 120 meals, Pennsylvania Post 159 serving 150, Ohio Post 1991 serving 90, and West Virginia Posts 30 and 34 serving a combined 430. New Jersey Post 2 also served 90 meals to veterans and families over Veterans Day weekend.