By: Don Jarvis – July, 2020
What started a few weeks ago has led to a wonderful community event serving meals directly to the homes of our veterans. Recently I was in touch with Sarah Sweeney from Military Friends Foundation who offered me a $1,000 COVID 19 Military Relief Fund grant to go towards immediately assisting veterans and their families and families of Fallen Service Members to help those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The money from this grant was used to deliver 300 BBQ chicken dinners to Veterans in the City of Haverhill. It’s important now more than ever that we come together, work together and support one another. This project that quickly came together does just that.
With the help and support from Military Friends Foundation, Amvets Post 147, VFW Lorraine Post29, Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, Merrimack Valley Hope Mission, Disabled and Limbless Veterans, Middlesex County Deputy Sheriffs Association, Middlesex Deputy Sheriffs Association, Winchester Knights of Columbus Council 210, Market Basket, Institution for Savings in Newburyport, State Senator Diana DiZoglio and her staff, State Rep Linda Dean Campbell, State Rep Andy X. Vargas, State Rep. Lenny Mirra, members of the Greater Haverhill Chamber, and several local business owners and members of the community we were able to provide support directly to the homes of our veterans.
These BBQ Chicken Dinners consisted of BBQ Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, Gravy, Corn, a side Salad, and Dessert. These meals were delivered in brand new thermo bags that were donated by Institution for Savings Bank in Newburyport.
These bags also contained a face mask donated by Merrimack Valley Hope Mission and a small American flag. “We are proud to support Don Jarvis’ Haverhill community project which is mobilizing to support for veteran families through meal delivery. As we continue to combat COVID-19, it is imperative that we ensure food access isn’t a barrier for our most vulnerable and this project is bringing support literally to their front porch,” Sarah Sweeney, Army Wife and Executive Director of Military Friends Foundation.
Military Friends Foundation 501c3 awarded a $1,000 COVID-19 Military Family Relief Fund grant towards this initiative. Military Friends has lead the charge across the state to aid military families impacted by the pandemic and has awarded over $100,000 in grants across Massachusetts in recent weeks. Veterans and families on Chapter 115, Veterans on HUD VASH, Veterans residing in transitional housing or a place that is not their own (to include veterans living in hotels) and also we included our Senior Veterans (from WWII and Korean War) all received a meal thanks to this grant.
In addition to the meals, the veterans also received an additional bag of groceries which contained non-perishables and fresh produce that were donated last minute to this event.
With respect to COVID-19, proper protocols were taken, and plans were put into place to ensure everything was executed safely. All volunteers were required to wear masks, and anyone handling anything related to food in the kitchen or loading the bags with the meals were required to wear gloves at all times – NO EXCEPTIONS!!
All meals were delivered through contactless deliveries meals; the veterans were notified of the delivery and was to wait for either a knock on the door, a ringing of a door bell, or a phone call if neither knocking or ringing isn’t an option. Drivers were required to wear a mask at all times as well. These protocols were in place to ensure the safety and wellbeing for all veterans and volunteers.
“To all our veterans who have worn the cloth of our nation, we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. Your service, commitment and dedication to our country has not gone unnoticed. This meal is one of the many ways we want to show our veteran community that, we as a community truly appreciate everything you have done and that your service and sacrifices are very much appreciated.” Says Jarvis who is truly thankful for all the support from everyone who has stepped up to help make this happen on such a short notice.
Jarvis wants all our veterans to know that we are always here for them, and as a community we love them, and we see them as family. Jarvis adds, “Know that we are with you and your community is with you; not just today, but every day!! This meal is one of the many ways we want to show our veteran community that, we as a community truly appreciate everything you have done and that your service and sacrifices are very much appreciated. This meal delivery shows work makes the dream work; Together Everyone Achieves More.”
Again, to everyone who helped make this meal happen – we salute you, and we thank you!! ◊