A local veterans organization is in need of renovation work after a recent outreach program proved a little too successful.
The Jacksonville Amvets Post 100 on East Court Street has been holding a free community dinner since May, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The dinner is a drive up only dinner that is free of charge for anyone in the community to partake in.
Jimmy Duncan with Amvets Post 100 says the group felt it was a way they could help after seeing a need in the community.
“We just thought with everything going on in the community, people with kids out of school and just a lot of people in need out there that we could afford to cook a meal one day a week. We do curbside pick up only, and we were doing it from 5 to 7 pm, or until we ran out. We had pulled pork one week and hot dogs and hamburgers, chili, just a variety of different things.
Our kitchen was not the greatest and it’s actually gone south on us so we couldn’t do any meals last week and we probably won’t get to do any this week either. We hope to continue the meals once we get the kitchen going, but right now we can’t prepare anything conveniently and safely.”
Duncan says the drive up meals were first come first serve and they always ran out of meals before 7:00 p.m. He says one recent night they served approximately 153 meals.
Duncan says the Amvets kitchen has needed work for sometime now and the heavy use of preparing the community meals took it’s toll. He says Post 100 is holding an online fundraiser to help raise funds to complete the renovation work and get back to serving the meals.
“We have had some come though the meal line and give a free will donation, which we didn’t ask for but we appreciated and accepted. I hope we will get close enough to do everything we need to do to the kitchen. With that help and the fundraiser we have gotten some pretty good help so far. We are hoping for more, and people are pretty generous, especially in Jacksonville and the whole county area.
People are pretty generous and very caring about their neighbors and stuff and we were doing the meal because it’s the right thing to do. It was a lot more wok for Bill and some of the other guys here but it was the right thing to do and we will continue it once we can prepare them again. We may change nights or something like that but we intend to keep doing them.”
Duncan says the Amvets Post received some of that local generosity recently after their retired flag drop off was destroyed by vandals last month. He says many people offered to make or donate a box to replace the one that was built as part of an Eagle Scout project over a decade ago.
“Once the word got out, we had several people offer to help, but we already had two people working on it. One is the father of the Boy Scout who originally built those boxes for the community, probably 15 years ago now. So he and a couple of his pals are putting one together. Then we also had a couple of gentlemen offer to make a metal one for us and make it harder to damage.
So we will have both up. We will have one inn the back of the building and one in the front where the original one was. It’s going to be nice and we are really appreciative of their efforts and it’s going to be a good addition for us and for the community.”
So far, $350.00 has been raised on the FundRazr.com website. The page shows five contributions have been made, with a goal of raising $30,000 for the facility.
If you would like to donate without going online, donations can be dropped off or mailed to the Amvets Post 100, 201 E. Court Street in Jacksonville.