Veterans Feeding Veterans, United, They Fight Hunger
By EILEEN FINAN and WENDY GROSSMAN KANTOR
Food insecurity among post-9/11 veterans is more than twice the national average, and the pandemic has only made things worse. As Veterans Day approaches, we celebrate those who continue to serve by helping fellow vets in need.
Meals Ready to Eat
“When you serve your country, it’s not just combat,” says Cucuta (in Englewood, N.J.).
“When there’s a need, you jump in.”
An Ex-Marine Now Cooks for Vets
When Dionisio Cucuta Jr. joined the Marines in 1977, cooking was a duty: “I didn’t want to do it, but in the military you’ve got no ship with the Table to Table organization near his hometown of Teaneck, N.J. “Cars line up for two miles,” he says of the demand. Cucuta has also worked with local churches and volunteers to
cook more than 25,000 hot meals for families and vets in need.
Known as Chef Dion, Cucuta isn’t new to community service. In 2010 he started Culinary Cadets, an after-school program teaching cooking skills to kids, and he hopes to buy a farm where he can start a restaurant and culinary school and provide jobs to vets. Knowing he’s helping his fellow military families hits close to home: “A lot of vets are on a fixed income and barely make ends meet. Sometimes I’ve needed help. Feeding veterans is like feeding my brother or sister. It’s personal.”
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