VALDOSTA, Ga. — Georgia AMVETS Post 607 of Valdosta, Ga., was able to provide Thanksgiving dinner baskets to 67 families in need on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, through its Thanksgiving basket giveaway campaign.
While AMVETS served 100 applicants for holiday meal assistance in 2011, the numbers this year still represent a success to organizer Post 607 Second Vice Commander Rena Crawford, who believes in one of the main pillars of AMVETS: service to one's community.
“With the economic times the way they are, we are realizing a lot of people don’t have enough food to feed their families," said Crawford. "As veterans we wanted to do something to give back to the community."
AMVETS Post 607 managed to raise about $1,500 to purchase the meals for the charity. The organization ran a boot donation drive in the Inner Perimeter Road Wal-Mart parking lot, earning more than $900 during Veterans Day weekend. The Moody Air Force Base Commissary donated $100 for the charity, and a raffle for two liquor baskets raised another $120. The remaining donations came from individual members and organizational funds.
The dinners included a basket of turkey, collard greens, dressing, cranberry sauce and canned yams. Volunteers delivered 25 of the 67 boxes, and the remaining 42 were picked up on-site between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. by approved applicants. Needy families were asked to fill out applications for the donated meals to gauge if they qualified for assistance through AMVETS.
Those who qualified were notified of their approval, and asked to provide identification when they picked up the dinners, unless they were delivered by an AMVETS member. More than 40 volunteers, including a large number of veterans and active-duty service members, helped to give away and deliver the Thanksgiving meals.
With the basket giveaway complete, AMVETS now turns its attention to its annual Children’s Christmas Party on Dec. 22, when the organization will give away 100 bicycles, as well as offer food to visitors and escort Santa Claus on a fire truck.
“It’s the holiday season, which is supposed to be the time when you put away the negative and focus on those who need something, and to realize what you’re thankful for,” said Crawford.
Photos: Top: AMVETS members and volunteers prepare Thanksgiving baskets. Bottom: AMVETS Department of Georgia Second Vice Commander Bryon Dublin, AMVETS member Nerma Dave, AMVETS Post 607 Second Vice Commander Rena Crawford and AMVETS Post 607 Commander Dennis Williams help check in families at the Thanksgiving basket giveaway on Nov. 20, 2012. Photos courtesy of Frederick L. Bates.
A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS
provides support for veterans and the active military in
procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service
and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this
nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS
is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veterans’ service
organizations in the United States, and includes members from each
branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserve. To
learn more, visit www.amvets.org.