Free Thanks­giv­ing din­ner for vet­er­ans

The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Front Page -

More than 100 vol­un­teers at Clear Path for Vet­er­ans in Chittenango will help prepare for a com­pli­men­tary Thanks­giv­ing Day din­ner that will be served to more than 500 vet­er­ans, ac­tive duty, Re­serves, Guard and their fam­i­lies.

The Thanks­giv­ing din­ner be­came a prac­tice at Clear Path in 2013 when co-founder Melissa Spicer ap­proached then- Culi­nary Man­ager An­drew Miller, who was ex­cited at the prospect. In the six years since, vol­un­teers have be­come reg­u­lars – many sign­ing up to par­tic­i­pate in just this meal. The tra­di­tion has ex­panded to in­clude two dozen vol­un­teers pre­par­ing the week ahead and more than 75 peo­ple vol­un­teer­ing on the day of the din­ner.

“We are so grate­ful to the amaz­ing culi­nary team that as­sem­bles for this din­ner ev­ery year,” Spicer said, “and to the many staff who vol­un­teer to work at the din­ner. This is truly an act of serv­ing our vet­er­ans, and speaks di­rectly to our vision of cre­at­ing a car­ing com­mu­nity within our walls and be­yond.”

Ac­cord­ing to Feed Our Vets, a non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion that has pro­vided more than 750,000 pounds of food since 2008 to vet­er­ans strug­gling with food in­se­cu­rity, many vet-

er­ans and vet­eran fam­i­lies will go hun­gry on Thanks­giv­ing. Sev­eral of them face food in­se­cu­rity not just the fourth Thurs­day of Novem- ber, but all month long. Ap­prox­i­mately 130,000 vet­er­ans are home­less and/or hun­gry on any given night in the U.S.

Al­though the Thanks­giv­ing Day din­ner at Clear Path was not cre­ated to al­le­vi­ate hunger from the most vul­ner­a­ble vet­er­ans in the area, it does pro­vide respite and a sense of com­fort and com­mu­nity.

“Clear Path for Vet­er­ans has be­come a home­base for mil­i­tary mem­bers, vet­er­ans and their fam­i­lies. It’s a fam­ily all its own,” Spicer said. “The com­mu­nity loves to sup­port vet­er­ans by vol- un­teer­ing and have made it a tra­di­tion to vol­un­teer with their kids.

“One vet­eran said their fam­ily lives out of town and they’ve typ­i­cally had Thanks­giv­ing alone,” Spicer added. “An­other fam­ily said Clear Path has be­come a place where their fam­ily mem­ber has found so­cial well­ness and is proud to be able to bring their fam­ily to meet their Clear Path fam­ily.”

The menu – this year be­ing crafted by Clear Path’s new Culi­nary Pro­gram Man­ager Karen Krull-Ro­bart – fea­tures a wealth of tra­di­tional Thanks­giv­ing fare. There will be four seat­ings this year: 11 a.m. to noon, noon to 1 p.m., 1-2 p.m., and 2-3 p.m.

Vet­er­ans can make a reser­va­tion on­line at www.TinyURL.com/CPTDAY18 or by call­ing 315-687-3300.

PHOTO COUR­TESY

Clear Path for Veter­an­sVeteran Al­fred “Earl” Stone of Chittenango en­joys the of­fer­ing of the 2017Thanks­giv­ing Day din­ner at Clear Path for Vet­er­ans in Chittenango. Clear Path for Vet­er­ans will hold its an­nual Thanks­giv­ing Day din­ner for vet­er­ans, ac­tive duty, Re­serves, Guard and their fam­i­lies, on Thurs­day, Nov. 22, at 11a.m., noon, 1p.m. and 2p.m.

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