Love (and Cake) in the Bronx
Last week, veterans at the James J Peters VA Medical Center in Bronx, NY received some sweet proof that they were not forgotten. Soldiers' Angels VA Support Team Leader Martha Neyman, Board of Trustees Member Rich Lowe, and Josh Kay of Bake Me A Wish visited the Center, armed with gifts, delicious food and--most-importantly--love and appreciation.
In addition to the food, Soldiers' Angels donated six small refrigerators for use by families of veterans who travel together long distances to receive specialized treatments conducted at the Peters VA, as well as three laptops for use by patients who do not have their families near them. Martha herself delivered 82 lap robes, caps and scarves that were handmade by members of a senior citizens center club called "Hands in Motion" near her home. In addition, the VA was provided with a video game system for morale and therapy, as well as a $1000 check for quality of life improvements at the facility. Bake Me a Wish also supplied 60 special "love cakes" as part of a catered lunch for patients.
"They were just so thankful for us to be there," reports Martha. Some of the veterans in attendance knew Soldiers' Angels from their deployments and eagerly expressed their gratitude. "We had lots of comments about how much support from groups like SA meant to them," Martha says. She adds that the veterans were surprised by the gifts they received. "We got hugs, we got handshakes, we got thank you from just about everyone," Martha recalls "They thought it was really cool that someone would do that for them. They reaffirm what Soldiers' Angels is doing. When you're out there, you see the lives that SA is touching."
For years, Bake Me A Wish has been partnering with Soldiers' Angels to send scrumptious cakes to deployed troops, so the Peters VA event was an introduction to the experience of those troops once they come home. While he as there, Josh was able arrange for a regular supply of cakes to give each incoming family as a welcome. He is also working on a way to get birthday cakes to patients in the Community Living Center (nursing home), since most don't have family who can are able to visit or celebrate with them.
Martha points out that supporting veterans here at home is just as important as adopting deployed heroes. "Our Angels go all-out while our troops are oversees," she says. "But when they come home, this is where as great a need remains. There are just so many that don't have family support."
To get involved with the VA Team Martha leads and help these veterans feel as supported here at home as they are on deployment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.