Alaska post helps get community through pandemic via its kitchen
Post 5 members in their kitchen at Christmas 2017. (via Clare Sullivan)

Alaska post helps get community through pandemic via its kitchen

The State of Alaska put out a self-isolation order, in response to the developing coronavirus pandemic, on St. Patrick’s Day. According to Clare Sullivan, commander of American Legion Post 5 in Seward, the order “in some cases caused us to come to a screeching halt at the post for most of our daily activities.” But, she adds, “Even with that, we haven’t completely stopped trying to do our bit in service.”

The Post 5 Legion Family has been making and donating face masks, but its main contribution has been food. Available curbside is free nightly dinner service for members and those in need, and free breakfast for frontline workers. “Food is generally our ‘forte’” when it comes to community events, Sullivan says. “This is because we are one of the few nonprofits in town that actually has a commercial kitchen, and we donate the food; the regular restaurants generally aren’t in the position to do that.” A weekly dinner menu can span beef, sausage, chicken and more.

Seward is a town of less than 3,000, over 100 miles south of Anchorage at the head of Resurrection Bay. The community has formed a Joint Information Center, which Sullivan participates in and exchanges information with along with local leaders, medical organizations, businesses and other groups. Regular emails, which include updates on area cases and community resources, are distributed via the center. Another local group participating is the Seward Prevention Coalition, which Post 5 has worked with before. The service clearinghouse looks to the post to provide food at its partners’ community events, and as a source of help for veterans in need.

Sullivan believes the post has secured a deeper place in the minds of the community over the last few months; “I think our community partners … have begun to realize the potential of what we at Seward Post 5 can do to help.”