The season of giving thanks continues during the COVID-19 pandemic. As many veterans struggle to put food on their families tables, the Elks Lodge and the Erie VA Medical Center have teamed up again to give out free Thanksgiving meals.
At the VA Medical Center, pre-approved veterans could pick up yams, vegetables, potatoes, gravy and a 15-pound turkey. 175 meals were handed out. But, it’s more than just giving thanks, it’s also a matter of lending a helping hand.
U.S. Air Force veteran Meg Walker picked up a Thanksgiving meal for her family. Walker says she would not be able to have food for the holiday if it was not for this.
“My husband just got laid off and we knew that it was coming, but you know, it was still hard.” Walker said.
She says this is also about bringing awareness to the problems that veterans face.
“I believe that awareness of our plight as veterans, we are just simple folk. The only difference between you and me if you didn’t serve is that you didn’t serve.” Walker said.
The Elks Lodge has partnered with the VA Medical Center for the past four years. Richard Ozimek of Elks Lodge Post 67 says this veterans supporting veterans.
“Some veterans, as you know, fall through the cracks and they get a little confused. They might not be sure what is going on here after they leave the military and this is to address those who fall between the cracks.” Ozimek said.
Those with the medical center say this is a great way to show support to those who have served.
“Even in the midst of a pandemic, our community continues to show up in support of our veterans. We are so thankful to have that support and have those veterans’ needs continued to be met.” said Sarah Gudgeon.
Elks Lodge also partnered with Walmart for non-perishable food items and Wegman’s for the turkeys. JTM Bakery of Erie also donated pies for dessert.