COSTA MESA— Union members, community partners and veterans organizations collected a record 5.6 tons of food and supplies for veterans in need on Nov. 11 in an effort to say “thanks a ton” to those who serve.
The food drive is part of the annual Veterans + Labor: Partners in Service community event at the Orange County Fair & Event Center, which brings together thousands of residents, volunteers and union members to say “thank you” to veterans. The event includes free food, dancing and access to services. This year’s event also featured a special dedication of Heroes Hall, the County’s first ever museum honoring veterans.
Donations began pouring in during the weeks leading up to the event, boosting this year’s donation totals. Ironworkers Local 416 in Norwalk collected more than 2 tons of food and goods alone, and members of the Orange County Employees Association also collected goods in worksites throughout the county.
On Veterans Day, televised calls for donations led to a steady stream of people wanting to help.
Ultimately, the food drive brought in 5.6 tons of food, surpassing last year’s 4-ton record. The food and supplies will be distributed through Disabled American Veterans, which provides free, professional assistance to veterans and their families in obtaining benefits earned through military service.
According to the 2016 “Hunger in America” study, some 12.5 percent of U.S. households suffer from food insecurity, with more than 20 percent of these households including a military veteran.
“When men and women make the ultimate commitment to serve our country, they should never go hungry when they return home, and we should be there for them the way they’ve been there for us,” said Jennifer Muir Beuthin, who is the General Manager for the Orange County Employees Association. “We are proud to stand with union workers and community members to do our part in honoring those who have served.”
Sponsored by California unions, “Veterans + Labor – Partners in Service” aims to support and raise up veterans on three fronts: providing volunteer service, opening doors to good jobs and a special Veterans Day event to honor our heroes for their service.