Serving Those Who Served: Heroes are Feeding Veterans in Need

by Clayton Edwards

Veterans Day is right around the corner. This national day to celebrate those who served always brings a few things to the minds of many Americans. First and foremost, we remember just how much our veterans gave for us as we hear their stories. However, not all of the things that come to mind are quite so pleasant. For many, this is the time of year that we remember how many of our veterans are in need of assistance.

For others, however, this is not just something that comes to mind in early November. Those heroes keep the veterans who are in need front and center in their minds every day. They work tirelessly to make sure those who served can get the food they need to survive.

Veterans need these heroes now more than ever. According to People, food insecurity among post 9/11 veterans is more than twice the national average. The limitations imposed by the CODID-19 pandemic only made this worse.

Heroes Helping Veterans in Need

Dionosio Cucuta Jr. is a retired chef, disabled combat veteran, and former Marine Corps cook. Today, he works with Table to Table through his Disabled Combat Veterans Youth Program to feed those who are dealing with food insecurity. They feed 3,000 families, about ten percent of those are vets. Since March of last year, he’s served over 2.5 million meals. Additionally, Cucuta’s organization runs youth mentorship programs. About this work, Cucuta says, “I want to feed as many veterans as I possibly can. It’s like feeding my brother. It’s personal.”

Rich Synek, a US Navy combat veteran founded Feed Our Vets in 2009. This came about when Synek saw how poorly one local vet was doing.

In 2005, Synek worked as a postmaster in central New York. While working there, he met a WWII veteran who came in every week to buy a single stamp. That’s all he could afford. The WWII vet and his wife were in such dire straits that they often had to choose between eating and heating their home. After hearing this, Synek started buying the vet groceries. Then, Synek told him to tell other veterans to come to him for assistance.

Before long, the Syneks were spending about $2000 every month to help veterans in need. However, they wanted to do more. With that in mind, they formed their non-profit. Since then, they’ve served over 33,000 vets across the country and provided over $176,000 in gift cards.

How Can You Serve Those Who Served

If you’ve read these stories and feel moved to help vets there are several ways to do so. If you’d like to help Cucuta or the Syneks in their missions, both of their foundations are linked above. Additionally, it shouldn’t be hard to find local veteran support organizations in your area. On the other hand, you can donate or volunteer with the Disabled American Veterans or volunteer at your local VA facility.