This Thanksgiving, we feel overwhelming gratitude for our U.S. armed forces and veterans – individuals who have sacrificed so that we can enjoy our many comforts. We also feel profound gratitude for our military families, who often sacrifice just as much as their service members. As a result, the Gwinnett Coalition for Health and Human Services and Snellville United Methodist Church recently partnered together to help Gwinnett County Veterans get a little head start on preparing a nice home-cooked Thanksgiving Day meal.
With a U-Haul truck filled with frozen Butterball turkeys and groceries collected by members of the church congregation, Lou Anne Campbell and a team of volunteers arrived at the offices of the Gwinnett Coalition prepared to give back to the veterans who have served our country over the years.
One by one, 50-plus veterans and their families began descending on the Coalition’s Veterans Resource Center. Upon arrival, each family was presented with a turkey and 2 large boxes containing all of the traditional Thanksgiving trimmings to take home and prepare.
Danny Pagan, the Director of the Veterans Resource Center said “It doesn’t get much better than to witness an individual that served their country pick up the phone with tears in the eyes to simply call a family member to inform they will have a meal for Thanksgiving.” Unfortunately, many will not.
Veterans often face unique challenges that civilian members of American society don’t always understand. The lack of institutional support often means veterans find themselves in unfortunate situations with little to no outside help, especially during the holiday season. Some of these challenges include homelessness, unemployment, poor, and untreated PTSD resulting in high rates of depression and suicide.
“A Thanksgiving meal for many of the veterans here today was simply not going to happen this year”, Pagan added. “This blessing, made possible by this loving church, has made our veterans believe they still matter, and for that, we are extremely grateful.”
So whether you’re grateful for your own military family member, your friends, your health or just a day to spend with the people you love, we hope you will take a minute this Thanksgiving to acknowledge our nation’s defenders.