By Bill LaMonte
Recently, Ron Wilson, director of The Veterans Welcome Home and Resource Center (better known as the Hutton House) located on Highway 57 in Little River, sent a request to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10804 of North Myrtle Beach. The Resource Center provides assistance to area veterans and their families. They provide such things as food, clothing, job training, job finding, transportation, limited financial help in paying bills, paying household needs like utilities and rent/mortgage and even providing on site temporary living. The request to VFW Post 10804 was a need for groceries to help feed several veteran families who were in desperate straits because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the loss of work.
Twice in the last month, VFW Post 10804 answered the call. The first time a food drive was organized by Lew Ogonowski. He is the organizer/captain of Post 10804’s Monday Golf League. Lew put out the word at the golf outing and the members responded in a big way, complying with the ‘social distancing’ rules currently in place. A one hour collection would take place outside of Post 10804. In that hour, the golf league collected over $400 in non-perishable food items.
The second recently completed event was a two-hour food drive spearheaded by the Post Auxiliary and organized by Cathey Farley, Dana Fogner and Jacqui Williams. It was in support of the VFW campaign “Uniting To Combat Hunger” which is a nationwide VFW program to feed veteran families effected by COVID-19. Again, this was an outside the Post, limited exposure, event to comply with the Gov. Henry McMaster’s orders. In the two hours, members of the Post and Auxiliary donated almost $700 in non-perishable food items (even toilet paper was donated).
All-in-all, over $1,100 worth of food and household needs items were donated totaling over 1,500 pounds. All the collected food was taken to the resource center where volunteers put together “emergency food baskets” for 36 veteran families that had already expressed a need for help. There was enough food to assemble several more ‘emergency baskets’ and they will be distributed as the resource center is made aware of other veteran families in need.
If you have some spare time on your hands, the veterans resource center is looking for volunteers to work a few hours a week. For details call Director Ron Wilson at 843-427-4658 or 843-504-0774 or you can drop by the Hutton House at 421 Highway 57 South (near the ELKS Club).