Knowing some veterans in the area might not be able to make it to a Thanksgiving meal or have one on their own, American Legion Riders Chapter 232 in Polk City, Iowa, decided to step up and help.
Launching its Holidays for Heroes, Chapter 232 delivered ready-to-cook Thanksgiving meals right to the front doors of veterans in the area. More than 80 Polk County veterans were on the receiving end of Chapter 232’s effort.
“We know there’s a lot of people out there who can’t afford a whole meal for their family and their friends,” Chapter 232 Director John Kimrey said. “We know there’s a lot of organizations that will a (cooked) meal. To us, that’s not the whole Thanksgiving spirit. You want to sit down with your family, be able to have the whole meal and say that (they) prepared it. So that was the idea.”
The cost of the project, around $3,000, came via Chapter 232 Bike Nights, private donations, and teaming up with other events and organizations. The Riders set up a food and beverage booth at the nearby Elkhart Truck Pull able to do a 50-50 drawing at an indoor go-kart race.
“To be honest, we couldn’t have done this without the public support we received,” Kimrey said.
Veterans were able to sign up for the meals at the Veterans Outreach Center in Des Moines. The meals included a full turkey, traditional Thanksgiving sides and a pie and were delivered the weekend before Thanksgiving.
Kimrey said the reactions from the veterans were powerful. “Believe it or not, there were a lot of tears shed,” he said. “A lot of joy. It really is a really, really emotional day. They were so thankful. These people who put their name on the list … they were probably the neediest of the needy. One guy was actually at a Polk County (homeless) shelter. He was so thankful. And I know he probably shared it with the staff and the other residents and whoever he could share it with.
“That’s what Thanksgiving is about. We thought it was a great opportunity to help. We’re trying to fill an empty spot there.”
In Fountain, Colo., American Legion Riders Chapter 38 continued its annual tradition of bringing Thanksgiving to families perhaps unable to afford it otherwise. The Riders teamed up with the Fountain Police Department to deliver 100 turkey dinners to families in need the weekend prior to Thanksgiving.
Fountain Police officers identified families, veterans and seniors who were needing a little extra help this holiday season, and Chapter 38’s Riders took it from there.
"Everybody needs a little holiday in their life, and we're trying to do our part to make sure that everybody has a nice successful and enjoyable holiday season," Chapter 38 American Legion Rider Cornell Penn told Fox 21 News.
Post 38 also hosted a Thanksgiving day dinner for families in need.
Teaming up with Stark County Veterans Services, American Legion Riders in North Dakota's District 8 raised the funds for and then delivered Thanksgiving meals to veterans in the area who were single, or have no friends or family in the area. The meal included a whole turkey, stuffing, vegetables, dinner rolls and pumpkin pie.
"It's nice to deliver the package and say thanks for their service," ALR Chapter 66 member John Deavy told KMMC-TV.
And in North Platte, Neb., American Legion Riders Chapter 163 hosted its annual Thanksgiving dinner for area veterans.
“We put this on every year for anybody associated with veterans and their families and they’re invited to come down and eat,” ALR Chapter 163 Director Henry Russell told the North Platte Telegraph