Maine Veterans Project distributes Thanksgiving meals

Published: Nov. 21, 2022 at 5:13 PM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Thanksgiving may only be one day of the year, but for many the planning begins weeks in advance.

That’s true at the Maine Veterans Project, where they’ve been hard at work to ensure more Maine vets have a meal on the table for the holiday. On Monday all their preparations paid off as they distributed the food in Bangor.

“There was a lot of people that were like, ‘Oh, is this for real? Is this actually what’s happening?’” said Alan Beatty, a former Marine who helped volunteer for the event.

The Maine Veterans Project has organized Thanksgiving food distributions before, but never anything like this.

“We had multiple veterans reach out that wanted to contribute to this. We’ve got ground beef from one veteran, farm raised meats from another, fresh apples from another veteran’s orchard. We got a gentleman from Downeast Maine that brought potatoes,” said Doc Goodwin, Maine Veterans Project president.

Plus, they had more than 100 bags of donated non-perishable food items and about 70 turkeys.

“Everyone seems extremely thankful. We’ve actually had people make some donations as they’re getting food. It’s wonderful, you know? Give what you can help out your community,” Liam Kenny, Maine Veterans Project team member.

Beatty was responsible for raising money for 40 turkeys through his YouTube channel, Not Your Average Nurse.

“I just wanted to get back to the veteran community that’s around here. I know there’s a lot of people that have – it’s not so easy for them going into the winter and whatnot. I thought this would be a good way to kind of relieve some of the stress,” said Beatty.

“As awesome as it is to give away so much food, it’s sad that there’s such a need right now. However, I’m just proud that we’re here to be able to do it with a big team effort,” said Goodwin.

It was more than just food made available to veterans on Monday. They could also connect with services, like the ones available at the Bangor Vet Center.

“The holidays can be tough times for veterans, which is understandable. So we’ll support them in the ways that we can,” said Ritch Pelletier, outreach specialist at Bangor Vet Center.

Whatever food was leftover was heading to Machias. It will be distributed from the American Legion later this week so even more vets can have a happy Thanksgiving.