Kroger's Teresa Dickerson: “It is important for us to show our gratitude to the men and women who serve our country during the Thanksgiving holiday.” (Courtesy photo)

by Latrivia Welch, Special to The New Tri-State Defender

For the coordinators and volunteers associated with the Veterans Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway, one way of saying “thank you” to a group of remarkable people is to start with a blue recycle bag.

Latrivia Welch

Over 50 volunteers gathered on Wednesday (November 20) at the Pipkin Building at the Fairgrounds with the shared goal of helping veterans. Putting on the annual Veterans Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway is no easy task.

The volunteers flowed in from Kroger Delta Division, Naval Support Activity Mid-South, Alpha Omega Services and Miller Coors. With the Pipkin Building into an assembly line of sorts, they prepared 2,000 hefty bags that included food from Kroger and Smithfield.

And in return, Kroger provided a hearty lunch, music by L-N-B productions and an opportunity for fellowship.

“Kroger believes in feeding the human spirit,” said Teresa Dickerson, Corporate Affairs manager for Kroger Delta Division. “It is important to show our gratitude to the men and women who serve our country during the Thanksgiving holiday. Feeding our veterans is a great opportunity for Kroger to support the community through our Zero Hunger Zero Waste Foundation.”

Many veterans experience their most emotionally trying times during the holidays.

In 2013, according to a study on the Purple Heart Foundation website, 30 of every 100,000 service members and veterans were likely to commit suicide during the holiday season compared to 14 of 100,000 civilians. In essence, though they have given so much of themselves, during the times when we are happiest, our veterans are at their lowest points.

The Veterans Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway, in its third year, is crafted to improve those odds. This year year – the third – is the largest so far.

On Thursday (November 21), Kroger Delta Division and the City of Memphis, in partnership with Alpha Omega Services and Smithfield, will say “thank you” to local veterans during their annual Veterans Thanksgiving Giveaway. Mayor Jim Strickland will be among those passing out from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (rain or shine) at the Pipkin Building on Tiger Lane.

I’ll be there to share every moment with you and glimpse into the lives of real-life heroes and the organizations that seek to elevate them.

Stay tuned!

(Latrivia Welch is a national bestselling author, blogger and foodie, who spends spare time trolling the Mid-South for interesting restaurants and food-related stories to share in her column, Coffee & Eggs, which is named for her two favorite food choices.”)