GRAND ISLAND, Nebraska (KSNB) – During the holiday season, there are many causes to give, one of which is our veterans. The Veterans Business Alliance will host its sixth annual “Christmas in Virginia” event.
The Veteran Gifts campaign begins after Thanksgiving and will end this weekend. BCV asks for donations of unwrapped. Donations have been difficult to secure for financial reasons, officials said.
“Everyone is hurting financially because of the economy, and you hear it all the time,” said Chef Anthony Brando, founder of the Veterans Business Alliance. “Recession, recession, recession. Well, some people don’t, and it doesn’t really affect them directly. It affects us directly.”
Donations are at an all-time low, which some residents believe reflects how undervalued veterans are when they leave the military.
“A woman said to me yesterday, ‘Chef your job is very important because a lot of veterans are being forgotten,'” Chef Anthony said. “We wouldn’t have what we had. We wouldn’t have these Christmas celebrations, and we wouldn’t have the business we have now, if it weren’t for the veterans on the front lines.'”
What sets BCV apart from other organizations is that BCV donations don’t end with veterans, Brando said. They also give to family members.
“It doesn’t end with veterans,” says Chef Anthony. “We take care of veterans and their families, daughters, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and grandparents. If there is a need and we are able to help them, we will. I honestly don’t think there are many opportunities where we can’t help of.”
The only requests that the BCV cannot meet are high cost needs, such as those requiring new electric motors in their vehicles.
“We got the wish list from the Department of Veterans Affairs, and we’ve been working with veterans in Victory Square for a long time,” says Chef Anthony. “And there are families, maybe three or four that we’ve been helping. We get wish lists from them as well.”
Chef Anthony says Kuester Lake has helped them figure out what to gift each person and their family. To donate a gift, residents can donate at Destiny Church, Tiffany Square, and Saatchi Center.
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