New Partnership Distributes Food Boxes to Veterans

Published: Feb. 22, 2023 at 9:28 AM EST
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A new partnership aims to fight food insecurity experienced by the county’s Veteran population. NewsSource8′s Brian Bouchard has the story.

“As far as I’m concerned, if you’re a veteran and you’ve served our country, we will do anything and everything we can to help you”

Dixie Shaw, Hunger Relief Program Manager for Catholic Charities Maine discusses a new partnership aimed at distributing boxes of food to military veterans. The idea came from Presque Isle native and Army Veteran Andrew Vernon, who is chairman of the national nonprofit Military Veterans of America. Vernon said the idea was based on a final wish from his Grandfather, who was a World War II Veteran and longtime Fort Kent resident.

“He said he wanted to do something to help get food to the Aroostook County area, particularly for veterans.”

The food was donated by Midwest Foodbanks and through a partnership between Catholic Charities, Presque Isle Elks and Aroostook Veterans Alliance will be distributed at 3 different locations throughout the month of March. Vernon said Military Veterans of America may bring this type of partnership to other rural areas of the country based on the success of this partnership in Aroostook County.

“A lot of times the veterans that we help by filing claims for them for compensation and disability always tell us that it’s for the other guy, that they don’t need it, they’re the veteran, they served their time and its really for the other guy, meaning the other veterans and that’s really not the case those benefits are there for any veteran who served in the military at any time.”

James Gehring, Service Officer for the Aroostook Veterans Alliance says this new partnership is a step in the right direction in their efforts to support Aroostook County’s veterans.

“The county has gaps, we had gaps for veterans benefits, we have gaps for veterans for food and forming this partnership with Catholic Charities, the Elks and Aroostook Veterans Alliance just takes us a little closer to the goal and we’re really happy and appreciative that we can do it.”

The partnership will be distributing the food to Veterans at the Presque Isle Elks Lodge, Catholic Charities Caribou Warehouse, and the Fort Fairfield VFW simultaneously at 1030 am on Thursday, February 23rd . Shaw say’s they’ll be doing this every other Thursday until the end of March.

“And it doesn’t mean if you got it the first time that you can’t get it a second time and I would like for the veterans to tell their friends and family that are veterans that this is happening because it doesn’t matter who you are, inflation does not discriminate.”

Despite a press release stating a requirement that Veterans need to be currently receiving some for of government assistance, both Shaw and Gehring say that no veteran will be turned away empty handed.

Brian Bouchard, NewsSource8