Veterans Column: Holiday Season Is a Time to Share Good Fortune and Lasagna
By Don Irelan, Son of a WWII Navy Veteran, Brother of a Retired Navy Captain, and GCVF Volunteer
At this time of year, millions of residents in the United States and other nations have begun to prepare and celebrate Judeo-Christian holidays, most of which began in the U.S. soon after Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s is a time for traditional family gatherings, reunions with friends, religious observances, goodwill and thankfulness for blessings received.
The season is also a time during which caring people may share their good fortune and generosity with the less fortunate in their communities.
As a non-veteran volunteer at Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, I have seen many veterans who now or have in the past experienced income and food insecurity, as have non-veterans who likewise experience such issues. My family and I have been blessed during my career to receive adequate resources necessary to meet our family’s needs, and we have not experienced chronic hunger.
Therefore, when tasked to do so during my volunteer work, I have been honored to lead periodic food delivery efforts to provide food to low-income veterans and friends.
Recently, for Thanksgiving, Gold Coast Veterans Foundation and Buddy Nation, both community outreach organizations, were approached by fellow nonprofit Lasagna Love with an offer to donate baked lasagnas for delivery to low-income veterans, elderly and homeless friends located within Ventura County.
The generous offer by Lasagna Love was happily accepted by team leaders at Buddy Nation and Gold Coast Veterans Foundation who identified low-income veterans and at-risk residents who would most benefit and appreciate the donated food. Ultimately, the list exceeded 90 Ventura County recipients.
The lasagnas offered by Lasagna Love were prepared by teams of cooks organized by regional leader Denise Burns and the food was picked up and delivered along with side dishes on Nov. 20.
All told nine volunteers made the deliveries. All recipients expressed great appreciation, including two typical comments heard by the delivery team members repeated below.
Veteran Ron Wilbur, of Ventura, said, “I’m calling to thank your team for dropping off the very nice lasagna dinner at my door. Nobody else took it, and I thank you for doing that. The lasagna was really great. I mean, it was fantastic.”
Scarlet Pimentel, of Newbury Park, said, “I want to say thank you and show my appreciation. I loved the lasagna and I want to thank you all so much. God bless you.”
It is also remarkable to note that after hearing about the event scheduled to deliver the lasagnas, two anonymous donors stepped up with generous separate offers to deliver turkeys to a local veterans transitional housing facility located in Ventura. The turkeys were scheduled for delivery by the donors in time for follow-up by the housing facility staff and enjoyment by the resident veterans on Thanksgiving Day.
As only one of the delivery team volunteers on behalf of Gold Coast Veterans Foundation, I must thank Lasagna Love’s team, Buddy Nation’s team and my fellow delivery team members, without whom the donation by Lasagna Love could not have been as widely appreciated.
Source: VC Star article from December 6, 2021