MAKING THE HOLIDAYS BRIGHTER FOR OUR VETERANS

The Unit again invited the community to participate in its fundraising activity,”Make the Holidays Brighter for our Veterans.” The Manhasset Press helped to spread the word along with our Boy Scouts and Junior members.  There was a chill in the air but warmth in the hearts of those who participated in the fundraising, shopping, and wrapping of gifts for the veterans at the Northport VA Medical Center.  The success of this effort was the result of much planning, much cooperation, and much generosity of time and donations in many forms and by many individuals and businesses.

A Boy Scout. Matt Moschitta, again served as liaison to Raindew where the managers enthusiastically supported the effort by permitting the Scouts and our Junior members to set up a table and encourage Raindew’s patrons to assist our veterans.  Volunteers stayed at the table throughout the day and received very generous donations from shoppers.  Raindew has always been an energetic supporter of veteran causes presented to them by the ALA.  The kind cooperation and support shown by Raindew’s owners and the many discounts applied to purchases for our veterans are very much appreciated.

We continue to reap the rewards of the initiative of our Junior member, Kaitlyn Clarke, who, two years ago, arranged for us to participate in the Modell’s coupon program.  We were again given discount coupons that were good for a month of shopping.  Five percent of the purchases above $500 are being returned to the ALA and will be used for additional items for veterans.

A second Boy Scout, Daniel Cataldo,  once again served as the lead in advertising the event throughout town.  His announcements appeared in stores, his posters outside American Legion Post 304 explained the event, and his flyers listing the items needed for our veterans and active military were distributed to shoppers at Raindew.

While collections were being made at Raindew, donors also stopped by the American Legion Post with items and monetary gifts.  Care to Knit donated 121 beautifully handmade blankets.  The Al & Peggy DeMatteis Foundation donated $300 to assist in the purchase of electric shavers.  The Ace in the Hole Foundation donated $620 for the purchase of six robotic cats and dogs which are being used to assist our veterans suffering from dementia.  The Columbiettes donated hundreds of dollars’ worth of sweatshirts, hats and gloves.  Members of the Manhasset community dropped off hundreds of items and made monetary donations.  Members of the American Legion Auxiliary, the Junior American Legion Auxiliary, and students from each of our Manhasset schools also made donations and gave generously of their time.

Much sorting and wrapping was also taking place at the American Legion Post.  Led by Pat O’Brien and Elizabeth Parrella, the President and Vice President of Manhasset Unit 304, many elves ensured that the gifts received would be beautiful holiday surprises for the veterans.  Manhasset Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts donated homemade cards, others spent hours making and writing cards, and several days were spent wrapping the gifts.  In between, Umberto’s of Manhasset provided relief by once again graciously supplying pizzas for the many volunteers.  At the completion of the collection, Raindew reviewed its stock and then made extremely generous contributions of clothing to our veterans.

By the evening of December 15th, 243 individual, very large, gift bags had been filled for our veterans.  In addition, there were numerous bags of CDs, DVRs, and miscellaneous items for Northport.  The holiday gift bags and additional items were delivered to the Northport VA Medical Center on Monday, December 16th, by a group of Auxiliary members.  A truck and driver donated by Tridon Chemical, as well as a company representative, and a trailer on loan from the Manhasset Crew Team, made the trip much easier.

The gifts were distributed to veterans on December 19th by two Unit members, Pat O’Brien and Linda Clarke, an Eagle Scout, Martin Clarke, who was home from college on break, and several Vietnam Veterans.  Those delivering the gifts were met along the way by Dr. Antonio Sánchez, Executive Director of the Northport VA Medical Center.  He thanked everyone profusely for the outpouring of generosity shown to our veterans.

Over 100 members of the American Legion Auxiliary, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, and the Manhasset community assisted with this wonderful project and spent over 300 hours working to complete it.  The number and value of the donations are truly overwhelming.

In addition, Unit 304 partnered this year with the Working Women of Manhasset (WWOM) to prepare 50 holiday gift bags for the female veterans who attend the Northport VA Hospital Women’s Wellness Center. Led by Susan Neville, 2nd Vice President of Manhasset Unit 304, nine committee members from both organizations shopped for and packed the bags with personal care items, in addition to chocolates, cookies and holiday card greetings. These bags were delivered to the Northport VA Medical Center earlier in December so that each woman attending the Women’s Wellness Center during the month of December would receive a gift bag in recognition of her valued service.

   

Manhasset Unit 304 Junior members, Scouts and our college supporters accepting donations for veterans and troops in back of Raindew.  Raindew continues to be a major supporter of our programs for our Veterans.

   

Our Scouts made donations, sorted items, and began packing the gifts for our Veterans

Thank you to our generous and faithful friends

Unit 304 Junior members and other volunteers with Robotic Dogs purchased for the Northport VA Medical Center (donated by Ace in the Hole Foundation)

Many help to pull it all together

Unit 304 Junior members and volunteers wrapping electric shavers for the NVAMC

Unit 304 members and volunteers put sizes and building numbers on the gift bags

Toiletries bagged by Margaret Palmadessa, a new Unit 304 member (right) and her sister Bernadette

As always, we are grateful to John D’Angelo and Troop 97.  The pizza boxes show some of the donations from Umberto’s for all the volunteers who made our effort possible.  Thank you, Mike!

Unit 304 members and volunteers help to sort and pack items for the holiday gift bags

Daniel and Lorraine Cataldo

Unit 304 member Diane Klein makes sure each bag is stuffed

New Unit 304 member Sandra Acerra  packs holiday gift bags

Selfies add to the fun…so much joy in giving joy to others!

Donations flowed into the Post all day.  Thank you, Belley family!

Keith DeMatteis and the DeMatteis Foundation are truly loyal supporters of our Veterans

(L to R) American Legion Post 304 Commander, Peter Killian, Auxiliary member Carol-Anne Condon, and Post 304 member Peter Cogan

Members of Northport VA Women’s Wellness Center Committee and holiday gift bags; Susan Neville, Unit 304 2nd Vice President and Committee Chair (second from left).  We are very grateful for this year’s partnership with  Working Women of Manhasset.

DELIVERY DAY ARRIVES on December 16th!!

The holiday gift bags and additional items were delivered to the Northport VA Medical Center on Monday, December 16th, by a group of Auxiliary members.  A truck and driver donated by Tridon Chemical, as well as a company representative, and a trailer on loan from the Manhasset Crew Team, made the trip much easier.

Manhasset Unit 304 President Pat O’Brien and members Elizabeth Parrella and Linda Clarke amidst completed holiday gift bags at American Legion Post 304

Unit 304 members and volunteers pack the gift bags into the truck for transport to the Northport VA Medical Center

Delivery and sorting of gifts at the Northport VA Medical Center

 

Gifts were distributed on December 19th.

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