Most food pantry programs rely on “shelf stable” canned and boxed foods for their food distributions for people in need. These foods don’t require refrigeration, keep for long periods and are easier for the community to donate during food drives.
And when Feed Our Vets started, “shelf-stable” food was exclusively what our pantries distributed to Veteran families in need.
But for Feed Our Vets Executive Director, Rich Synek, this wasn’t enough. He felt that veteran families deserved the good nutrition that comes from fresh foods. So he established the “Fresh Vets” programs.
By reaching out to local grocers, dairies and farmers, and by acquiring new cold storage units, “Fresh Vets” was born, and now fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs and milk are available to the Veteran families we serve every week.
Last December, Fort Drum’s Noncommissioned Officers Academy students and cadre marched to USO Fort Drum to donate food items to the Watertown Feed Our Vets food pantry. The 88 Basic Leadership Course helped raise more than 1,500 donations for the holiday season. You can find more photos here: http://bit.ly/1NZBt3F (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Kap Kim, 10th Mountain Division Public Affairs Office/Released)
Feed Our Vets Founder and Executive Director with Kevin Harvick cut out that is in stores throughout the South, including Food City Stores is August. Kevin and Armour Meats have partnered with Feed Our Vets in the fight against Veteran hunger.
ARMOUR SANDWICH CREATIONS AND FEED OUR VETS: Armour’s new Sandwich Creations are quick, ready-to-eat meal solutions to make the perfect sandwich. Sandwich Creations items come in four flavors, including BBQ Pork, BBQ Chicken, Chicken Taco and Buffalo, and can be found in the packaged meat section of the grocery store. Armour, a Pinnacle Foods brand, will be changing the traditional Armour blue and gold colors on the No. 88 Chevrolet Camaro to red, white and blue for the first time ever in support of Feed our Vets. As part of the launch of Sandwich Creations, Pinnacle Foods will be donating Armour products to Feed Our Vets, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to help those veterans in the United States, along with their spouses and children, whose circumstances have left them on the battlefield of hunger.
From Santa Barbara News-Pres
By SCOTT STEEPLETON, NEWS-PRESS CITY EDITOR
May 31, 2016 5:40 AM
The fluorescent green top and matching helmet make Mike Beattie look like so many other cyclists you might pass on Cabrillo Boulevard on a gray May morning.
But the message printed on the back of his shirt – “I’m biking 12,000 miles to feed hungry veterans” – makes you realize the retired locksmith/security company owner and Navy veteran from Connecticut is on the road for a much higher purpose.
“I left Connecticut 68 days ago. I’m biking for the Utica (New York) food pantry which is called Feed Our Vets. They distribute food cards and assist any veterans that are in need of food throughout the whole country.”
The News-Press caught up with the 67-year-old near Chase Palm Park in Santa Barbara on Memorial Day as he was riding west, an American flag attached to the back of his bike, slowly approaching the halfway mark in his circle tour of the United States.
From his home in Storrs, Conn., about 35 miles east of the state capitol Hartford, Mr. Beattie headed south to Florida. “From Florida, I headed all the way over into San Diego. Now I’m going up the Pacific coast to upstate Washington.”
From there, he’s riding to Bar Harbor, Maine, and then it’s back home.
He averages about 80 miles per day, beds down in a motel and then gets back up and rides another day – all of it to raise money for vets who need help.
“When I retired almost two years ago, I bought a used motor home and I traveled around the country, and I couldn’t help but notice how many homeless veterans there were on the streets,” Mr. Beattie told the News-Press. “I found out that a lot of them just fell through the cracks.”
He did some research, discovered that almost 3 million veterans and their families members who don’t have enough food at the end of each month.
“That inspired me to ride.”
Mr. Beattie said there are plenty of wealthy people who do a lot for vets, augmenting government assistance. Still, he wishes more people would do more.
“This is just a small food pantry that serves thousands and thousands of veterans, and it’s all operated by volunteers,” he said. “There are no salaries involved, there’s no big bureaucracies involved.”
In the New York area alone, he added, the pantry feeds 5,000 veterans every month.
Mr. Beattie is doing the ride on his own, with no crew, no support vehicle and no one at his side to keep him company on those long, lonely stretches. He’s financing the ride through the sale of his home.
You’d never know it by looking at him, but Mr. Beattie has endured three spinal surgeries, including steel rods and screws holding his lower back together. He likes to say all the major surgeries he’s undergone in the past eight years, involving his shoulders, arms, back, neck and more have left him “rebuilt.”
Sure his back hurts, he said, “But as long as I’m riding, I’m pretty much pain free.”
On this day, he’d left Carpinteria and was heading to Lompoc.
Good weather was in the forecast; nothing like the three days he was waylaid in the Texas-Louisiana area because of torrential rains and floods and tornadoes.
“I’ve been through all kinds of weather,” he added with a laugh.
“It’s been pretty crazy.”
For more information on Mr. Beattie’s ride or to make a donation, click here.
Michael Beattie, a 67-year-old Navy Veteran is biking across America to raise awareness and support for hungry Veterans. So far Mike has traveled over 7,500 miles, from Storrs, CT to Delta, PA to Baltimore, MD, to Rockville, MD; Washington, DC; Suffolk, VA; Bern, NC; Topsail, NC; Wilmington, NC; Monks Corner, SC; Stateboro, GA; Folkston, GA; Orange Beach, AL, Navisota, TX; Duncan, AZ; San Diego, CA; Santa Barbara, CA; San Simeon, CA; San Francisco, CA; through the California Redwoods, Arcata, CA; and now Bend, OR. You go Mike! We’ll keep everyone posted.
Michael served in the Navy from 1967 to 1971. He is from Storrs, Connecticut, and recently sold his home so he could use the proceeds to fund a 12,000 mile bicycle trip around the US to help raise money and awareness of the hungry Veteran problem we face in this country.
This past year, after his retirement from his locksmith and security business, Michael had the opportunity to travel around the US in a camper, and it was then that he was exposed to hungry America Veterans. He stopped at a McDonalds for a cup of coffee one day in New Mexico.
There was a man holding a sign that read, “I’m a homeless Veteran. I want a job but no one will hire me. I am also hungry.”
Michael ordered a couple burgers, went outside, talked to the man and gave him the food. The man was moved to tears, and hugged Michael. It was then that Michael knew he had to do something about Veteran hunger. He witnessed so many Veterans with signs begging for food and living on the street in every State he traveled through. That’s when he started thinking what crazy kind of thing could he do to get enough attention that maybe people would donate money to help. Lots of people ride across the country to raise money, but he never heard of anyone (especially at 67) that has ridden completely around the country.
Michael estimates that the trip will take 5 months of 80-100 miles a day of riding on a bicycle, if all goes well.
He says, “This will be a great challenge for me as I have had three spinal surgeries, including steel rods and screws holding my lower back together. I have had many major surgeries in the past eight years, and am kind of rebuilt: shoulders,arms, wrists back, neck and much more. But I am very committed to doing this and have been working on the details for over a year. One of the things I can still do physically is ride a bike, so let the games begin! As I am self funding my trip and 100% of the money I raise will go to buy food through the Feed Our Vets organization.”
Michael plans on starting out on his journey this Spring. We’ll keep you posted.