Worcester organization making Thanksgiving possible for hundreds of local veterans

WORCESTER — With inflation impacting food prices, many of us have felt the squeeze shopping for our Thanksgiving dinners. Veterans Inc. of Worcester is trying to make things a little easier for local veterans, who are struggling to make ends meet.

On Tuesday, Veterans Inc. hosted their annual Holiday Harvest.

“It’s a big help I’ll put it to you that way.  Very, very, very helpful. I’m very happy to be here,” said Worcester Army Veteran, Bob Shemeligian.

The line through the event moved like a well-oiled machine. Veterans grab a shopping cart and a volunteer guide who helps them grab everything they need at their Thanksgiving tables.

“I am so grateful for the veterans, for seeing friends, and compadres here,” said Army Veteran Cynytia Wnukowski of Worcester.

She says this event lifted her spirits and lessened the burden during a very difficult year.

“Well with everything the way it is today, it means quite a lot,” Wnukowski said. “I am having a very small gathering of only four people because of my breast cancer diagnosis. This is going to make it extra special for me.”

Veterans Inc. says generous community sponsors make the annual event possible.

“It’s been very difficult because of the pandemic and the supply chain shortage of food. And for some reason the veterans community has been hit unusually hard,” said President and CEO of Veterans Inc., Vincent Perrone.

A veteran himself, he says donations are crucial to filling in the gaps.

“We just can’t do this work alone,” Perrone said.

Walmart was among the event sponsors today presenting a $5,000 donation.

‘It’s just a no-brainer to be here this morning and help out especially during the holiday season,” said Chris Buchanan, Walmart’s director of public affairs and state & government relations.

Your local station, Boston 25 News, was proud to do our part as well. Anchors Mark Ockerbloom, Vanessa Welch, Elizabeth Hopkins, and Kerry Kavanaugh along with Chief Meteorologist Kevin Lemanowicz handed out hearty servings of produce.

“Makes you feel real good. I’m glad they remembered us,” said Leominster Air Force Veteran Frank Giangrande.

It’s a simple gesture to remember and honor the men and women who served our country.

“I appreciate everything and good luck to all the volunteers and nice to be home with the family,” said Worcester Air Force Veteran Peter Kallanian.

Veterans Inc. estimates 500 to 600 veterans attended this year’s Holiday Harvest. That means they’re feeding thousands of people during just one single event.

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