BANGOR, Maine — A New England Patriots tractor-trailer truck was at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor on Wednesday.
The Patriots and the New England Revolution soccer team are working with the USA Veterans and Military Support Foundation to provide meals for veterans and military families through the ‘Food4Vets’ program. Organizers say together they are providing food to veterans, their families, and veteran service organizations all across New England who are 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 they are providing have non-perishable foods and recipes to provide three meals a day for two people for 14 days, Cross Insurance Chief Operating Officer Jonathan Cross said.
“Both of my grandfathers served in World War 2 so it's an honor to give back to those who served and those who sacrificed. It means a lot,” said Cross.
Cross says around 350 Maine veteran families will receive the donations. 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.
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 hope to expand it to reach Ellsworth, Belfast, Lewiston, Machias, Guildford, and Dover-Foxcroft.
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