SARASOTA, Fla. – As it has for a number of years, First Church has brightened the holidays for veterans in need. Church members – led by missions chair Peggy Hite – contributed 45 turkeys as well as a big box of side dishes for veterans served by Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Services program. The food was delivered to the veterans’ services office the morning of November 18 and picked up by veterans throughout the day.
The church has been increasing the number of turkeys donated since the effort began around eight years ago. They had planned on 40 this year but the congregation stepped up with enough cash donations to support the purchase of 45.
“Many of us believe that there is so much we need and should do for veterans’ programs,” said Hite. “A number of us are older, many have served in the Armed Services, and we support that part of our government’s mission. So many veterans return from service with PTSD and other issues; we appreciate the things that Goodwill does for our country’s returning heroes.”
Since the holiday food donations have begun, First Church has typically donated hams for Easter as well but that was not possible this year due to the pandemic.
“It is always such an amazing day when we are giving the turkeys out to our veterans – you see the burden of providing such a big meal taken off their shoulders,” said Todd Hughes, Veterans Services program manager. “It makes your heart swell! We are all so grateful to First Church for supporting our veterans during the holidays in such a wonderful way.”
Goodwill’s Veterans Services program works to help eliminate barriers to employment, provide opportunities for higher-paying positions for veterans and their families, and connect veterans with needed social services. It also offers plentiful networking opportunities and emergency financial assistance – which is particularly important as already at-risk veterans face COVID-19-related challenges.
For more about Goodwill, go to experiencegoodwill.org.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.