More than 200 veterans suffering in different ways since serving in the military received some holiday help from the V.A. Hospital and Minnie’s Food Pantry on Thursday.
The vets received a turkey and all the trimmings for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.
“This helps them be self-sufficient. It gives them a bargaining chip to get back inside the door to the family they may have ostracized because of certain things they got wrapped up in that made them homeless in the first place,” said Mike Buchanan, veteran outreach specialist. “It’s that saving grace that they can use to really offer something that they haven't felt like they could offer in a very long time.”
Disabled Marine Kerrington Ramos is a single father raising six kids.
“With all the kids that I have in the house and family that may show up, this helps to save me money. Plus give them the meal that I want them to have,” Ramos said.
The V.A. partnered with Minnie’s Food Pantry to give to those who've given so much.
“When you hear somebody that served their country picking up the phone to call their mom just to say that they have a meal for Thanksgiving, man if that doesn't make you feel good I don’t know what will,” Cheryl Jackson, who operates Minnie’s.
Jackson was joined by her own volunteer army on Thursday, USAA employees who were honored to serve those who've sacrificed.
“It's so heartwarming to be able to give back to the vets who have served us over the years so we really like doing that,” said volunteer Pat Gerleman.
For veterans who carry the invisible scars of war, it’s a gesture that matters.
“There's veterans that, you know, suffer different things and sometimes this is the hardest part of the season,” said Cynthia Pitts. “But just to know that we count... is a blessing.”