CARES Act funding helps give Thanksgiving meals to hundreds of veterans

DeKalb County Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson and volunteers from Atlanta VA, Soldiers’ Angels and DeKalb County distributed food to 300 veterans at Atlanta VA Arcadia Clinic in Decatur Nov. 20.

Cochran-Johnson assisted with the distribution after allocating $10,000 in District 7 CARES Act funding to the Atlanta Food Bank to fund Soldiers’ Angels mobile food distributions for veterans.

“As your commissioner and a citizen concerned with my community, I am dedicated to ensuring our veterans and their families have the resources they need, because they have given unselfishly of themselves to ensure our freedom and liberties,”” said Cochran-Johnson.

Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson helped distribute food to veterans at a food drive that she funded by allocating $10,000 from the CARES Act. Photos by Jay Phillips.

Organizers from Soldiers’ Angels—a not-for-profit organization that supports military families, deployed service members, wounded heroes and veterans—said they only accepted veterans within 10 percent of the poverty line for food drives to ensure they help those who need it.

Stanley Allen—a DeKalb County resident and one of the veterans who received a turkey and between 100-150 pounds of food at the Nov. 20 food drive—said he was amazed at the turnout and the support from the county and Atlanta VA.

“It means I’m going to have food in my stomach and someone else is going to have food in their stomach,” said Allen. He said the food drive’s timing helps him, his mother and other veterans celebrate the holidays by removing some of the financial burdens associated with food.

“It means a lot to me because I’m on a fixed income. It takes a load off of me on the financial side. I still have to pay bills, and this is very helpful,” said Allen. “I am amazed at all of this.”

Soldiers’ Angels Director of Field Operations Vicki Sarracino said the allocation of CARES Act funding from Cochran-Johnson supplied the food for November’s and December’s food drives and let Soldiers’ Angels supply an extra 25-75 pounds of food per veteran.

“We are serving 300 at-risk veterans and their families. We have turkeys and a variety of other meats, produce, canned goods and dried goods,” said Sarracino. “There is about 150 pounds of food that is going to each family this morning, and this is all due to the generous donation of the commissioner’s office. She’s helping fund this month and next month, so we have double the amount of food we usually have.”

Officials from Soldiers’ Angels said the food drive provided more than 100 pounds of food to 300 veterans and their families.

Veterans drove to the Arcadia Clinic where Cochran-Johnson and officials from the Atlanta VA, Soldiers’ Angels and DeKalb County loaded boxes of food into their cars, allowing the veterans to stay in their cars and receive the food without coming in contact with volunteers and employees.

Candy, sweet treats, t-shirts and hygiene products were also provided to the veterans who attended.

“Our veterans have placed themselves on the frontline of service to our country,” said Cochran-Johnson. “It is important we provide the assistance they need as many face economic hardship as a result of COVID-19.”

Veterans interested in attending future Soldiers’ Angels food drives or anyone interested in volunteering or donating may visit: https://soldiersangels.org/atlanta/.

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