“Donations like this mean a lot to our VA staff as they are on the front lines of caring for our nation’s veterans every day,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said.
The Gary Sinise Foundation has once again come to help people in need. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the foundation has pledged to donate up to 20,000 meals to VA health care and frontline workers, reports Fox 13. “Donations like this mean a lot to our VA staff as they are on the front lines of caring for our nation’s veterans every day,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said in a press release. “We are very appreciative of this donation during the COVID-19 pandemic.” VA’s Voluntary Service also revealed that they will identify close to 80 VA medical facilities all across the country and they will receive the food in the following weeks.
“The donated meals will come from restaurants near these facilities, stimulating local economies and helping communities,” Chief Operating Officer of the Gary Sinise Foundation Elizabeth Fields said. “Up to 250 meals will be donated to each facility depending on size and need.” The foundation has been working tirelessly since April 1, as "the Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service has been helping to meet the urgent needs of Veterans, first responders, military, health care workers and all of those on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic through serving meals, providing personal protective equipment and donating decontamination equipment across the country."
"We developed a campaign to address COVID-19 called our Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service," Sinise said last month. "We're supporting first responders, frontline workers, health care workers, gold star families, you name it. Everybody's been impacted by having to stay home from work or go to work because they're a first responder and they're needed out there, so we're trying to make a difference." Gary Sinise, who rose to fame following his role as Lieutenant Dan Taylor in Forrest Gump, established the foundation in 2001 to help US veterans rebuild their lives after serving the country, as we reported earlier.
"After the tragic events of September 11, 2001, I began devoting much of my time supporting the men and women who were deployed in response to those attacks - the brave service members who, each day, protect and defend our great country. Having veterans in my own family, and having been involved with supporting our military veterans going back to the '70s, '80s, and '90s, it was after that terrible day I decided to become much more active for our defenders however and wherever I could," shares Sinise on his foundation's official website.
"A few years after 9/11, I visited local NY firehouses, befriended many firefighters, and have supported the FDNY through numerous efforts, including raising funds to build The Brooklyn Wall of Remembrance, in honor of all 416 first responders lost on that terrible morning. Through the Disabled American Veterans organization, I found it my mission to do all I could to support our wounded heroes and their families. And by getting involved with many other veterans Initiatives, I began to support the children of the fallen, Gold and Blue Star Families, and wherever I could serve and honor a need within the military, veteran, and first responder communities."
"Over the years, I have met many dedicated people who are also actively working to do the same, and I have tried to do what I can to support their efforts as well as spearhead many projects on my own in support of those who are currently serving, have served, our first responders, and the families who serve alongside them. I’ve traveled to visit our troops around the world, and have also performed with my band (Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band) in Kuwait, Afghanistan, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Okinawa, Korea, Singapore, Diego Garcia, Guantanamo Bay, Alaska and throughout the US in an effort to help boost the morale of our troops and military families."
"Through my travels, I've seen firsthand our service member’s extraordinary dedication," he continues. "My personal mission is what led to the founding of the Gary Sinise Foundation in 2011, and with the help of supporters like you, we will continue to expand this mission in support of our nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, and their loved ones, while upholding the importance of keeping our country strong by taking care of those who serve. While our programs and projects have certainly made a difference in many lives, there’s much more work to be done. On behalf of all of us here at the Gary Sinise Foundation, thank you," he said, concluding his statement.