Bradenton/Sarasota, Fla. – Goodwill Manasota and Olive Garden restaurant recently partnered to provide local military members and their families with a special Family Holiday Dinner.
“More than 900,000 veterans live on food stamps and around the holidays the challenges can be extra trying,” said Bob Rosinsky, Goodwill Manasota President and CEO. “So when Barbara, the service manager of Olive Garden, approached us about providing a holiday dinner to military families––, we immediately said yes!”
Master Sgt. Edward Valdez (Marine Corps) and his wife and daughter, Corp. Dan Wallace (Marine Corps), along with Mark Durham (U.S. Army) and his wife and daughter, attended the dinner.
“The holidays were the hardest time of the year when I was on active duty, so this dinner was a great experience — coming together with other military brothers to start creating nice holiday memories,” said Valdez, who served in the Marine Corps for more than 20 years. “I really want to thank Goodwill Manasota and Olive Garden for their generosity and support of veterans and their families.”
“When I returned home from active duty, I struggled with numerous issues,” said Valdez. “But then I got in touch with Chris, Goodwill’s veteran program manager, who was a great help and resource.”
Olive Garden was founded on the belief in the importance of family values and the special moments families make when they gather around a table to share delicious food. This belief is the basis for their Italian Family Reunions, a twice-a-year event that recognizes local families in Olive Garden communities across the country.
“These dinners are one way we honor the importance of family,” said Barbara Richards, service manager of Olive Garden. “It was a great pleasure to have these dedicated men and their families join us.”
Valdez: Barbara Richards with Olive Garden (right), Chris Davis with Goodwill (left) and the Valdez family enjoying a delicious Italian family dinner.
About Goodwill Manasota:
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes livesthrough the power of work. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. For more than 110 years, Goodwill has provided opportunities through such programs as DonatedGoods Employment Services, Job Connection, JobsPlus, Supported JobsPlus, HomeBuyer’s Club, Mission Development Services, White Glove Services, Good Neighbor Program and Ambassadors Program. Goodwill continues to assist people with disabilities and barriers to opportunity by changing lives through thepower of work. Goodwill Manasota, Inc. is legally organized under the laws of the United States and the State of Florida. We are accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota in essence belongs to this community, and is NOT owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit EXPERIENCEGOODWILL.ORG.