Reaching-Out Community Services– based at 7708 New Utrecht Avenue – provided a food distribution event for struggling families in celebration of the 240th birthday of the United States Army, with the goal of saluting both veterans and their families, on Thursday, June 11 in a three-hour event.
Army soldiers and veterans who have served the country were on hand to meet those who came out. The Mission Continues (post 9-11 Veterans) and the Fort Hamilton BOSS club helped lend a hand distributing food for the local needy families.
Catherine LaPorte from the Mayor’s Office of Veteran’s Affairs mentioned that it was wonderful to provide fresh, healthy food for the needy in its second year working with Reaching-Out.
“We’re here reaching out to and supporting the community,” said LaPorte. “[We’re also] looking for veterans so we can that connect them to New York City resources like HRA or the SNAP program, housing, jobs – that’s what we do every day at the Mayor’s Office for Veteran’s Affairs and we’re delighted to be here for the community.”
She commended that the job that Reaching-Out has done every day of the year.
“The numbers, the lines are wrapped around the block and that should not be here in New York City,” LaPorte said. “We can’t do it alone so this is a great example of New York City and Community organizations partnering together to support the local community.”
She urged that the Office of Veteran’s Affairs wanted to connect under-served veterans to resources that they earned through service.
“As a community, it’s important to support the veterans once they come home and also make sure they know where to find the help when they need it, whether it’s mental help, jobs, employment,” said LaPorte.
Marvin Cadet, a volunteer and veteran, expressed his satisfaction from helping out on a day designed to celebrate military services.
“We all want to promote service as a way to successfully reintegrate and transition our way back into society,” said Cadet. “Everyone’s very receptive and very grateful for everything we’ve been doing.”
He expressed the struggle that veterans have nowadays upon returning home.
“Well, I’ll quote Jon Stewart in saying that this generation of veterans is not looking for a hand-out, but actually a hand up,” said Cadet. “Veterans have a lot of very good skills that they’re ready, willing and able to use in their communities.”
LaPorte was pleased at the turnout as well, wanting to turn this into an annual event.
“We’ve got everyone from small children to seniors and it’s really nice to have them interact with the military, active duty soldiers that are defending our nation, as well as veterans who have served who are moving back home after serving,” said LaPorte. “We’re just delighted to be here and I’m seeing a lot of smiles today.”