Support for Veterans
“It is important to identify and address needs in our society by developing community-based solutions.” –Dan McCauley, Togetherhood Committee Chair
Name of Project: Support for Veterans
YMCA: Somerset Hills YMCA
Partner: Valley Brook Village at VA Hospital
Date: May & August 2014
Supporting our Veterans
Recognizing that veterans who make sacrifices for our nation are often forgotten once they return home, Togetherhood volunteers at the Somerset Hills YMCA are committed to supporting veterans in their community and showing them just how thankful they are for their service.
Togetherhood volunteers came together to visit veterans living at Valley Brook Village, a new housing facility located on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs campus of the VA New Jersey Health Care System in Lyons, New Jersey. At the first event, which was themed "A World of Thanks," 41 volunteers shared home-cooked meals with an international theme, decorated the VA community room, provided entertainment in the form of international dances and spent time showing their support and socializing with more than 30 veterans.
A follow-up event in August was a “Healthy Cooking” demo. Nearly 20 volunteers including two local chefs, Martin Hale and Nick Williams, invited participants to join in and help, teaching cooking tips as they cooked, from the safe handling of knives, combining basic seasonings to improve flavors, and choosing affordable, yet healthy and tasty recipes.
After the cooking demonstration, everyone enjoyed a wonderful selection of dishes and fellowship.
As an added surprise and wrap up to the evening, four bagpipers from The Guard Pipes and Drums, a Basking Ridge bagpipe band, arrived and delighted the veterans with a selection of favorite tunes.
In addition, Togetherhood volunteers set up and served a pre-Thanksgiving dinner for nearly 60 veterans this month and are planning to go door-to-door to entertain veterans with holiday caroling in December.
This month, volunteers from the Somerset Hills YMCA staged a healthy cooking class, dinner and fellowship at Valley Brook Village, a residential home for formerly homeless Veterans located on the VA property in Basking Ridge.