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How Communities Across America Are Bringing Joy To Veterans In Need This Thanksgiving

Across the country this week, Americans are giving thanks to the brave men and women who have served to protect and defend this great nation. Several local charities and organizations spearhead this effort every year, many donating and assembling Thanksgiving meals.

Here is what some of those organizations are doing to support local veterans:

Jonas, Pennsylvania

Locals gathered Valor Clinic Foundation to assemble and deliver nearly 200 boxes of food for veterans. The organization “helps veterans get back on their feet.”

“A lot of the combat veterans, in particular, have traumatic events associated with holidays. A lot of them, it’s almost a trigger point, the holidays. We try to take the stress levels down on those days for struggling veteran families,” said Mark Baylis, Valor Clinic Foundation told Channel 16 News.

Escanaba, Michigan

Volunteers supporting Escanaba’s Community Foundation and the Vet Center gave out 80 Thanksgiving baskets to local veterans.

“As a veteran myself, it’s really important to keep that in the lime light and to show our appreciation. It makes you feel really good to give people a hand during the holiday season,” Veteran Center Outreach Specialist, Ken Mylam told WLUC.

Thanks to the local American Legion chapters, the organizations said they were able to locate the many local veterans in need like Wayne Fields, an Army Infantry Veteran who unfortunately lost his job in November and came to the organization for support this holiday.

“It’s a nice service that the community provides, and that they put together for the veterans,” Fields told the news station.

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Dinners for Veterans donated 100 Thanksgiving dinners to veterans on Monday. Rocky and Roxanna Dunlap are spearheading the effort. Rocky, a Navy veteran, started the initiative because he “noticed many veterans and their families in Northwest Arkansas needed help.”

“This year we expect to help more than 600 people just during Thanksgiving alone,” Vaden Smith, a local volunteer, told 40/29 News. “Rocky and Roxanna started helping people out of their own pockets with their own money, and now we are fully-funded by donations.”

Franklin County, Massachusetts

Prime Home Health Care, TD Bank and Meadowbrook Farm banded together to deliver Thanksgiving meals to veterans’ homes.

“There are people out there that they may not know, that are thinking about them and carrying about them and to show up on their doorstep unexpectedly to bring them thanksgiving dinner,” Matt Maguire, TD Bank Group, told 22 News.

Lafayette, Louisiana

University of Louisiana’s Veterans Upward Bound Program supports student veterans over the holidays by gifting them Thanksgiving meals that can feed entire households.

“It adds another chapter to your life for you to continue your education and it gives you a sense of purpose in life,” Paul Edwards told KLFY News.

The program supports 120 veterans each year who seek to continue their education after serving their country.

“Not only the family but for anybody else that might come and visit them,” Tarrone Lewis, the program’s academic counselor, told the news station, “We know it’s a lot of work for them to get off of work and come to the classes.”