DAV food to needy Vets down this year because of economy

Published 2:37 pm Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Local Disabled American Veterans, who each year present a selected number of needy disabled veterans in the area enough food for fine Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, including a turkey, say that they have not been able to reach as many this year because of the bad economy.

“Our contributions because of the bad economy are down this year,” said DAV Commander Bill Leaumont, Sr., on Monday morning outside Claiborne Hill Supermarket. The store’s mployees put the food packages together for the veterans and delivered them to their automobiles.

Leaumont was aided by Deputy Commander Pat Evans.

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Leaumont says that the local DAV coordinates with the county VA representative in order to pinpoint the veterans who need the food the most, and it was a hard decision process this year because of the sparse funding.

“We have two fundraisers during the year to raise money for this worthwhile project, and the money just did not come in like it has been, but we forged ahead with the project anyway,” said Leaumont. “These guys have sacrificed for us, for our freedoms, so we should not deem it a hardship for us to help them as much as we can.”

Leaumont and Evans are disabled veterans also.

Claiborne Hill every year does the shopping for the veterans and holds the presentation ceremony in the parking lot shortly before Thanksgiving. “We are just overjoyed to be part of this celebration and effort to help our veterans who have sacrificed so much for us,” said store employee Cassandra Burkette, who helped with picking and loading the groceries.

“There is enough in each gift to make sure that the veteran and his family gets two great meals out of it, for Thanksgiving and Christmas,” said Evans. “We are really sorry that we are not able to give as much as we did last year, but we are hoping the economy will pick up so we can do better next year.”

The list of groceries for the “baskets,” including a free turkey, covered two closely typed pages and items included were more than enough to provide two great meals for needy veterans.