The Woman’s Club of Oley joined Oley Valley American Legion Post 878 to host a pancake and sausage breakfast for needy and homeless veterans at Hope Rescue Mission in Reading on March 10.
Veteran Carlos Luciano Jr. said that he comes to the center primarily for the camaraderie of his fellow veterans. He attended the veterans breakfast with his three children Carlos Luciano III, 5; Gianni Luciano, 11, and Samanni Luciano, 7.
“It’s a fraternal organization and no one understands us (veterans) but us,” said Luciano.
Luciano went on to explain that the Mission is a “safe place to bring his children,” who he wants to “learn and appreciate those who served their country.”
While not on a regular schedule, Legion previously held a similar breakfast on Veterans Day last year. On July 4, they were able to throw a hot dog roast thanks to Berks Packing Company’s donation of 16 dozen hot dogs and rolls. The Exeter Giant donated 5 turkeys at Christmas, the Legion purchased potatoes and vegetables and were able to organize a dinner with all the trimmings.
The breakfast, cooked by Women’s Club volunteers, was set to serve about 50 veterans and their families with enough food for second helpings. While the Woman’s Club has baked cookies for previous meals, March 10 was the first time they volunteered to help at a Legion run breakfast.
Prior to the breakfast, Legion members gathered early on Saturday morning to make 72 sack lunches. The lunches are distributed to those in need. Since January 2013 the group has gathered on the second Sunday of each month to assemble lunch bags. Each bag contains two sandwiches - meat/cheese & peanut butter and jelly, a cup of soup, an apple, cookies, pretzels and a bottle of water.
Along with many private contributions, the Legion receives donations from companies like Weis, Giant, Walmart, Wawa, BB&T Bank, the United Way, and Shady Maple Farm Market.
“Thankfully, there are not too many homeless any longer, but there are still many needy veterans and their families,” said Committee Chairman, Bill Lutz.
The Oley Valley American Legion Post 878 is planning a pizza event in the future and hope to have another hot dog roast on July 4.
Donations are welcome and can be sent to Oley American Legion Post 878, PO. Box 200, Oley PA 19547.
Glad Tidings Church, West Lawn, volunteers Art Valley, Judy Valley, and Kim Quaglia helped out that day also, along with Doug and Liz Graybill who run Veterans Making a Difference. Volunteers gather new clothing to distribute to the veterans by request on the Second Saturday of each month. The Veterans Making a Difference food pantry items are distributed to veterans on the last Sunday of each month.
For more information about Hope Rescue Mission in Reading, visit www.hopeforreading.org.