BANGOR, Maine — The New England Patriots and Revolution have spent the past five weeks providing meals for veterans and military families through the ‘Food4Vets’ program. The Patriots truck will be making a stop in Bangor at the Cross Insurance Center on Wednesday to distribute food packages.

The Patriots and Revolution teamed up with the USA Veterans & Military Support Foundation to help veterans in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

“These are unprecedented times, and we must do all we can to meet the immediate needs of our veterans and their families,” USA Veterans and Military Support Foundation’s founder and CEO Don Cox said.

The food packages contain non-perishable foods and nutritionist-developed recipes that provide three meals a day for two people for 14 days, according to a press release.

Meals will be available for pick up at the Cross Insurance Center from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, but all pick-ups must be scheduled in advance

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Volunteers, including those representing Cross Insurance, will be on-site to assist with the distribution. All aspects of the operation will be compliant with CDC policies and will emphasize social distancing.

More than 1.7 million meals have already been distributed to veterans in need over the past five weeks. The truck has made stops at six locations across Massachusetts, including Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. 

Organizers now hope to meet the needs of other New England states as well. In addition to Bangor, the truck stopped in New Hampshire at the Anheuser-Busch Brewery in Merrimack on Monday.

Two non-profit veterans organizations in Maine—Maine Veterans Project and 222Cares—have teamed up with the Patriots to expand the program to other areas of Maine. The two organizations have already been efforting helping Maine veterans during the current health crisis and beyond, but the Patriots' program is helping to connect the dots and get the word out, Shawn 'Doc' Goodwin of the Maine Veterans Project told NEWS CENTER Maine. 

"We have been focused on food handouts but it's important because the supply chain isn’t doing well right now...It's almost like a buoyancy device for a sinking ship," Goodwin said. "It's helping us stay afloat."

"[The Patriots] really put thought into this. It's shelf-sustainable, it's balanced, and it's nutritional," Goodwin said of the food packages. Goodwin said it's "genuinely heartwarming" to see the Patriots organization put so much thought into the program, and that it's "abundantly clear" it's not simply a PR ploy.

"Veterans with injuries and service-connected disabilities are our nation's most susceptible and are at greatest risk today,” Cox said. “Many are coping with a weakened immune systems, increased isolation and financial hardship. We do all we can to help these veterans and their families through these immensely challenging times and thank all of our partners whose assistance match our commitment to provide five million meals to veterans in need throughout New England.”

Maine Veterans Project and 222Cares are going one step further with the program and will be expanding it to reach Ellsworth, Belfast, Lewiston, Machias, Guildford, and Dover-Foxcroft. 

"Let's also treat this as a beacon of light in a very dark time," Goodwin said. 

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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