For decades, many American Legion Family members have provided a venue for those less fortunate or alone to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. Others have provided delivery of those meals or staged food drives to provide families with the means to prepare their own Thanksgiving dinner.
But as it has done to the nation’s way of life, the coronavirus pandemic has forced an altered way of providing Thanksgiving for the Legion Family. While many events have been cancelled, others have been adapted to adhere to social distancing measures and other safety protocols.
The following are just some examples of how the American Legion Family is continuing to help others celebrate Thanksgiving. If your post, unit or squadron is providing some sort of Thanksgiving assistance to others, please share it at www.legiontown.org.
On Nov. 23, Travis L. Williams American Legion Post 65 will be the site for HeroZona Foundation’s 17th annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway, which will be done in a drive-thru format to ensure the safety of volunteers and individuals picking up the donations. Each family will receive one frozen turkey.
HeroZona Foundation is a nonprofit co-founded by Post 65 Second Vice Commander Alan “AP” Powell that empowers residents of the community through entrepreneurship, employment and education.
American Legion William McKinley Post 231 in Chicago is providing Thanksgiving food baskets to needy neighborhood families.
In Brainerd, American Legion Post 255 has annually provided a sit-down community Thanksgiving dinner free to anyone wanting a holiday meal, including 810 in 2019. But amidst the pandemic, it was determined an in-person dinner wasn’t safe.
So instead, the post will provide delivery of the free meals Thanksgiving morning, as well as offer a drive-thru pick-up option on Thanksgiving Day. Leftover Thanksgiving dinners are donated to Minnesota Adult and Teen Challenge.
Capt. Lester S. Wass American Legion Post 3 in Gloucester is delivering Thanksgiving meals to homebound residents in Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex and Ipswich.
American Legion Post 73’s Legion Family in Picayune hosted a free Thanksgiving meal for veterans Nov. 11.
In Billings, American Legion Post 4 is teaming up with the Montana Veterans Meat Locker to provide free Thanksgiving dinners that will be picked up drive-thru style. The post and meat locker also distributed meat to around 125 veterans on Veterans Day.
• In Wildwood, American Legion Post 184 is donating 25 full Thanksgiving dinners to needy families in the area. The dinners include a frozen turkey, pre-made mashed potatoes, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, corn and a pumpkin pie. “We are proud to return to our community projects and thankful we had so many donors for this event,” Post 184 Commander Harry Weimar said in a press release. “This is a rough year for a lot of people and Post 184 is here to help during the holidays.”
• In Summit, American Legion Post 322 is joining with other organizations to sponsor the Other Fellow First Foundation’s 13th annual frozen turkey drive on Nov. 22. The effort benefits the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. The effort the past 12 years has raised $99,000, and collected 33.5 tons of turkey and 19.5 tons of bagged groceries.
In Monroe, American Legion Post 488 is providing free takeout and delivery Thanksgiving meals for veterans on Nov. 20. The effort is a collaboration between Auxiliary Unit 488 and other organizations and individuals.
American Legion Broome-Wood Post 292 in New London hosted a free dinner Nov. 14 for area veterans, spouses and spouses of deceased veterans. The post also is working with the Catholic Church to distribute food baskets to needy veterans, as well as with Huron County Veterans Service in distributing food baskets before Thanksgiving.
In Gilbert, American Legion Post 927 won’t be able to put on its annual community Thanksgiving meal. Instead, the post is hosting various food drives that included one Nov. 14-22 to collect canned goods and other non-perishable food items for area families’ Thanksgiving meals.
American Legion Post 29’s Legion Family in Sherman and VFW Post 2772 are working together to provide a free traditional Thanksgiving dinner to anyone in need or wanting companionship. Proper social distancing protocols will be followed. Take-out meals also will be available.