CASSVILLE, W.Va. (WBOY) — With Veterans Day right around the corner, local groups in Monongalia County have started a county-wide program called Brown Bags for Vets which looks to make life a little easier for veterans who need to travel for medical treatments.
The event took place among the county’s West Virginia University Extension Community Educational Outreach Service (CEOS) Club to gather food for veterans in the community who may need something to eat when being transported back home from special appointments at the Pittsburgh VA.
“I think that a lot of times, guys and girls probably need to go to Pittsburgh for surgeries or procedures that they don’t get here, and the van takes them,” said Debbie Blehschmidt, the President of the Cass CEOS Club. “And a lot of times, they don’t have anything to eat after their appointment’s done. So, this is a snack that they can eat on the way back.”
Members of the club met up at the Cassville United Methodist Church on Wednesday where club members brought different food items to pack up like bottles of water, pudding cups, applesauce, crackers and cheese.
“This is the first year we have done the brown bag for veterans [event],” Cheryl Fletcher, the Head of the Family Committee for the Extension CEOS said. Fletcher also said that despite this event being so new, Mount Union CEOS has been donating to local food pantries and churches in the community for about 25 years.
The club was able to put together 60 bags worth of food by the end of the day.
Attached to each bag is a thank you letter written by the ladies in the organization. By doing that, the club hopes to show appreciation to veterans in their local community.
“I’m excited because my dad was a veteran,” Fletcher said. “And I just think that this is a great opportunity for us to give back to the veterans.”
Prior to this event, Fletcher’s organization delivered 50 bags to this initiative that were loaded up with similar items.
“We delivered ours and they were really excited in Clarksburg to get them,” Fletcher said. “They said they couldn’t wait for the guys that get on a bus and be handed a bag. They thought they would really appreciate it.”
Blehschmidt has family members who served, making this initiative especially important to her as well. “My father was a veteran; my nephew is a veteran. I know a lot of veterans and when I see them, I always thank them for their service,” she said.
According to Blehschmidt, the Cass CEOS Club does several different initiatives throughout the year to give back to the community. “We’re on the west end of the county, and we do a lot of donations to the Shack [Neighborhood House], to the Scott’s Run Settlement House, and to St. Ursula Food Pantry,” Blehschmidt said. She also said that the club recently finished a three-month community service project to collect food items for the Chestnut Mountain Ranch.
The bagged meals that were prepared during this event will be taken to the Monongalia County VA Clinic in Westover, who will then transport the bags to the Clarksburg VA.