In a week, American Legion Family members coast to coast will lead efforts in their communities to provide Thanksgiving meals to those in need or unable to leave their homes. From hosting free meals to providing carryout and delivery, posts and their Legion Family members will give their time to helping others.
In Fountain, Colo., those efforts started a little early.
For the seventh year, members of American Legion Riders Chapter 38 have collected and then delivered Thanksgiving meals to families struggling financially. Twenty meals were hand-delivered on Nov. 13, while another 40 were to be distributed Nov. 18.
“I feel the community at large, without a better word, has gotten poorer,” American Legion Riders Chapter 38 Director Timothy Means said. “There are more hardships, inflation, etc. The people that we delivered these to were very, very appreciative, and obviously in need.”
The meals included turkey, stuffing, bread and more. The Fountain Police Department identified families in need for Chapter 38 and then escorted the Riders as they delivered the meals to the families’ homes.
Means said the families don’t know the meal is coming until one of the Riders knocks on their door. “They’re floored,” he said. “They cry sometimes. They want to reach out and hug you. It’s obviously a feel-good moment for the Riders, but we don’t do it for the feel-good on our side. We do it because it’s needed … and we’re there to do it.”
Chapter 38 also is providing another 40 Thanksgiving baskets that were to be distributed through the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 drive-thru giveaway on Nov. 18. And Post 38’s American Legion Family also will provide a free Thanksgiving meal that is expected to feed around 100 community members.
The following are just a few ways other American Legion Family members are assisting those in their community on or leading up to Thanksgiving. Legionnaires and Legion posts are encouraged to share their Thanksgiving efforts at www.Legiontown.org.
In Phoenix, Travis L. Williams American Legion Post 65 is teaming with the HeroZona Foundation for a frozen turkey giveaway on Nov. 22. There are no income requirements or ID necessary; unvaccinated community members will also have the chance to receive a $100 grocery gift card if they opt to receive either one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines at any upcoming OneCommunity Initiative event.
· In Monterey Park, Richard L. Luy Post 397 is collecting food items to provide to 50-plus families with free Thanksgiving meals consisting of turkey or ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. The meals will be distributed on Thanksgiving afternoon.
· In Vacaville, American Legion Rago-Christopher Post 165 is sponsoring the Vacaville Veterans Thanksgiving meal, which will deliver what typically is around 800 meals on Thanksgiving. The Vacaville Veterans, headed by Post 165, have been providing holiday meals to veterans and other area residents for more than 30 years.
Crang-Bennett Post 103 in Clinton is teaming with other veteran service organizations to prepare and deliver hundreds of meals on Thanksgiving to shut-ins, those who cannot cook for themselves or anyone working that day.
Nantucket American Legion Post 82 is hosting its annual "Babe" Patterson Thanksgiving dinner on Thanksgiving Day. The meal is free and open to the public; Post 82 also will deliver meals.
In Fallon, American Legion Post 16 and its Auxiliary unit are providing free meals for senior citizens in the community. Members of the post and Auxiliary, along with other volunteers, will prepare and deliver the meals on Thanksgiving. The post also provides a community meal.
· In Levittown, American Legion Post 1711 hosted its annual Holiday Food Drive Nov. 13 to provide Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets for veterans and other members of the community in need.
· In Antwerp, American Legion Post 916 is teaming up with the American Red Cross to host a “Thanks for Giving” blood drive from 1-5 p.m. Nov. 26.
· In Voorheesville, American Legion Post 1493 is providing a free community dinner on Thanksgiving consisting of turkey, ham and side dishes. The post is accepting a free-will offering that will go to fund local food pantries.
· In Milford, American Legion Post 139’s Senior Thanksgiving Give Back will take place Nov. 20 and provides free delivery, takeout and eat-in options.
· In Gilbert, American Legion Post 927 and the West End Home Association are providing a free community dinner on Thanksgiving to anyone wanting to attend.
· In Granbury, American Legion Post 278 is teaming up with The Waterin’ Trough nightclub and H-E-B of Granbury to sponsor the second annual free Thanksgiving meal to disabled military veterans and their families on Nov. 20. The meals are either dine in or carryout; in 2020 the event provided meals to 20 veterans and their families. “I think every little bit helps,” Post 278 Commander Asa Maddox told the Hood County News. “We're just trying to help them, to better them in any little way. This is just a little bit from what they need, just a little piece to help them on their way, to get back into normal life, and to show them that there's a lot of people out there who really care, that they're not alone. We try and make a difference and every little bit helps, so if we can feed 25 or 30 veterans that are disabled that are not able to have a Thanksgiving dinner, and we can provide them with that, that means a lot more to me.”
· Also in Granbury, American Legion Post 491 is serving a free Thanksgiving lunch that will include turkey, ham and several side dishes.
In Marshfield, American Legion Post 54 is hosting the Marshfield Community Thanksgiving Dinner, which provides a free meal to families through either delivery or carry-out. Past community dinners have provided 200-500 meals; this year it’s supported by Post 54, as well as other local entities and individuals.