Veterans give back through food distribution program

AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Veterans helping veterans is the goal of a food distribution program in Austintown.

Disabled American Veterans chapters in Mahoning and Trumbull counties teamed up to provide support for those in the Valley.

“We got young people that are coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq. A lot of them have lost their limbs, their lives,  watched their friends die in their arms,” Tony Revetti, adjutant for DAV Chapter 2 said.

Revetti gets emotional when he talks about the sacrifices of his fellow service men and women.

“So this is all very important that we stay as a family and stay together,” Revetti said.

Revetti and the DAV Chapter 2 in Austintown and Chapter 11 in Warren wanted to give back. Four months ago, they partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank to distribute goods strictly to veterans and those currently serving.

“There is no restrictions. Military ID, no questions asked. If you are in need, we are here to help. We are here to help any needy veteran because as you know, all of us hit on hard times,” DAV Chapter 2 Commander Leo Connelly Jr. said.

Connelly said they spent about $1,500 for Thursday’s food distribution, with 120 boxes given away. Each box costs about $10, but the content inside is valued between $60 and $70.

To maintain the monthly program, the Disabled American Veterans secured a $10,000 grant from the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

And every bit helps as veterans said they are on a budget.

“It gets tight fast too at the end of the month. It is a privilege to be able to come here,” Army infantry member Laishawn Newkirk and his mother, Karen Green, said.

“It means a whole lot. I couldn’t even tell you how much,” Army veteran Roger Mattocks said.

“I really appreciate everything they are doing. They do a lot out there as well,” Army Recruiter Glenn Millward said.

And now, each month, the food distribution event brings them all together.

“What is happening here is veterans serving veterans. We are not a Marine, we are not an Army man, we are not a Navy man. We are veterans. And everybody here is here for the same cause,” Army veteran Ronald Borngesser said.

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