MANCHESTER, Conn — Hot meals and cold-weather gear. It has been a winning combination in Manchester just before Christmas for the past six years.
Despite the hurdles created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Manchester Elks hosted its annual Holiday Veterans Gathering which is organized to serve those who served the country.
Veterans are treated to a turkey meal and given care packages to take home with them.
For the past two years the event has also been an outreach, where volunteers take the meals and the care packages to veterans’ homes throughout the area.
“They served us, and I can’t do enough to serve our veterans,” said John Grinvalsky, the veteran’s chairman of the Manchester Elks Lodge 1893.
The Holiday Veterans Gathering event is sponsored by Wethersfield-based retirement and investment specialist firm Johnson Brunetti, which has been involved all six years.
“We love doing it, we love helping our veterans, and we love encouraging our employees to be civic minded and to do things like this,” Heath Grossman, a partner at Johnson Brunetti, said.
Gerry Gallo, from the Manchester Elks Lodge Veterans Committee, said the veterans, some disabled and some experiencing homelessness, get a lift for the holidays as a result of the event.
“They’re getting a really nice holiday gift package of winter coats, hats, gloves, socks, and a $25 gift card from Stop & Shop,” he said.
Around 155 veterans were getting meals and care packages at this year’s event.
“They have sacrificed so much for our country,” Grinvalsky said. “We will keep doing this until we can’t do it anymore.”
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