Local restaurants give back to veterans- one dollar at a time
Local diners to collect donations for Veterans Count Maine
This summer, Chutes Family Restaurant in North Windham asked patrons to come together to “Dine For Vets” and help support Maine veterans, one dollar a time. The “Dine for Vets” program spanned from June through August and shared stories of local military members and their families that were served by Easter Seals Maine and Veterans Count Maine.
During the Dine for Vets campaign, Chutes collected $1,350 for Maine’s veterans. A check will be presented by restaurant owners Malia and Bruce Stevens to Easter Seals Maine/ Veterans Count in time for Veterans Day.
“Often our veterans come to us with emergent needs,” says Director of Military and Veterans Services for Easter Seals, Jeremy Kendall who adds that in recent months, the financial need for veteran services has nearly doubled. “We can cut through the red tape and immediately provide help. We bring them groceries, we fill their heating tank, or help pay rent to prevent foreclosure or eviction. After serving their immediate need, we make a plan for self-sustainability with the family and help get things back on track.”
The funds raised during the three-month campaign will serve veterans like Chris, and his family, who reside in Maine and received services from Easter Seals funded by Veterans Count Maine. After serving eight years in the Army, Chris returned home 100% disabled and without many options. Homeless and at rock bottom, Chris lost custody of his daughter due to the lack of stable housing. Potential employers were afraid to hire him due to his Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and recent combat experience, while low paying jobs like those in the fast food industry told him he was overqualified.
“Easter Seals and Veterans Count Maine saved my life, they saved my marriage,” says Chris. “Finally I felt like I was being treated like a human being, rather than something broken and needed to be fixed. At Easter Seals it was comfortable, I could go in to visit with the staff easily and they helped me and listened. They truly saved my life.”
About Veterans Count Maine
Veterans Count Maine is the fundraising chapter in support of Easter Seals Maine's Military and Veterans Programs, which provides emergency financial assistance, information, counseling and referral to post 9/11 veterans and their families as they make the sometimes challenging transition from military service to civilian life. Services include help finding employment, housing, affordable vehicle / house maintenance services, and even food, rent, fuel, and heating oil in particularly dire situations. The program is all philanthropic and relies on grants, corporate sponsorship and private donor support. All funds raised stays here in Maine. www.vetscount.org/maine
About Easter Seals Maine
Easter Seals provides exceptional services to ensure that all people with disabilities or special needs and their families have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play in their communities. For more information about Easter Seals ME, please visit http://www.eastersealsme.org/.