On behalf of our American Legion Post, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday season! As has been said this year, many are struggling to get into the spirit because our normal celebrations with family and friends can’t happen. Probably good news for Zoom; let’s hope they can handle the volume. And, in the spirit of the season, Zoom has announced they are lifting their 40-minute time limits during the following times: 10 a.m. Dec 23 to 6 a.m. Dec 26; and 10 a.m. Dec 30 to 6 a.m. Jan. 2.
The VA response to the pandemic and availability of the COVID-19 vaccine continues to evolve. To update those in the VA healthcare system, they will be having another virtual town hall meeting on Jan. 7 from 3 to 4 p.m. We will be streaming this event at the Legion Hall for those would like to attend that way. At the December Town Hall session, we only had two folks attend, so social distancing at the Hall will not be a problem. So, come join VA Town Hall meeting to hear the latest updates on the COVID-19 vaccine and their planning efforts to administer the vaccine. I will be providing the link just in this column prior to the event.
Another update on the VETS emergency temporary shelter trailers. The third trailer has now departed Boothbay to meet the needs of another homeless veteran. That makes three veterans who will be out of the cold this holiday season! It is a good thing that Ed Harmon and his VETS team have another four on order!
Your American Legion Post continues to support Maine homeless veterans. We are part of a new organization called Maine Veterans in Need. MVN has funds that are donated be individuals, veteran organizations, and businesses in Maine. Members of MVN are organizations that are dedicated to supporting all veterans in need. For example, Elks in Augusta are part of the organization and have a large trailer filled with household items that are available to veterans who are in need of furnishings for their new apartments when they are finally transitioning from shelters. Just in the past month, we have provided gas cards, food cards, and added minutes onto phone cards, to help those trying to survive their difficult situation. In most cases, these veterans are referred to us from case workers from organizations that are funded by government resources such as Preble Street and Volunteers of America. We operate in conjunction with the Maine Bureau of Veterans Services to make sure we our efforts are coordinated. I am the point of contact for MVN funds. Also available are state funds that are managed by the American Legion and Easter Seals. Veterans can apply for those funds by going to www.mainelegion.org and click on “Veteran Emergency Financial Assistance Program – VEFAP.”
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!