The Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program, along with the American Legion Post 45 Auxiliary and support from local companies and community members, has again provided a welcome source of Christmas cheer to the veteran community in Cherokee County.
“The focus for this program is twofold,” according to Jim Lindenmayer, director of the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran program and Post 45 service officer. “Our first focus is on providing for veterans with families who are financially challenged or homeless, and our second focus is on our elderly veterans who are living in senior care facilities or living home alone. It is our goal to make sure that all of these veterans have a great Christmas.”
The Adopt a Vet program consists of several events throughout the Christmas season, noted Lindenmayer, “to include an old-fashioned pancake breakfast with Santa for all veterans with children, visits to all of the elderly veterans living in nursing and assisted living homes as well as those elderly veterans living alone, and it also encompasses providing Christmas gifts and the Christmas meal to those veterans with families that are financially challenged and would not be able to provide a Christmas.”
“The program started back in early August for planning and by mid-December the program was completed,” indicated Betty Lewis, president of the Post 45 Auxiliary. “One of the many challenges to making this program a success is the matching of our programs with the corporate and community partners who stepped up to adopt either a nursing/assisted living home or one of the many financially challenged veterans with their families. We want to provide both our veteran community and our donors with the best possible experience so that they enjoy the holiday season.”
This year the program saw holiday visits to over 200 veterans from the 16 county nursing/assisted living homes as well as 17 homebound veteran visits, over 25 financially/homeless veterans with families and over 70 children of veterans were provided Christmas meals and presents, and almost 200 attended the Dec. 7 breakfast with Santa.