SLOATSBURG, N.Y. -- Four years ago Richard Jarcho decided he wanted to do something special to give back to the what he calls the "forgotten" veterans in Sloatsburg and the surrounding communities.
That something special has turned out to be one of the biggest food giveaways that happens at least four times a year to needy veterans throughout the area.
"The first year we collected enough turkeys for 35 veterans," said Richard Jarcho of Spring Valley who founded what's called the Veterans Angels Foundation. "This year we hope to top 200 dinners during our annual holiday giveaway in Sloatsburg."
Jarcho said his heart just told him what to do when asked why he works so hard to make sure that those who served the country are taken care of during the holidays.
"It's a beautiful thing to see when you can give away 150 dinners to veterans who served our country when most people act like they don't even exist," he said.
Today the effort is helped along by the Town of Ramapo, the Villages of Suiffern and Sloatsburg, People to People and the Sloatsburg Volunteer Fire Department, among many others, he said.
"We are very grateful for people like Mr. Jarcho," said Sloatsburg Mayor Clark Wright. "It's incredible what he has done for the veterans in our area."
For Jarcho it is just the beginning of what he hopes will become a huge operation where he will have trucks full of turkeys and the fixings to go along with them.
"I'm installing a new freezer in hopes that people will donate a turkey or potatoes or a dessert for our veterans," he said.
Any veteran is welcome to claim a "Veterans Bag of Food," until they are all gone, Jarcho added.
There's no process they have to go through, they just have to be a veteran.
"I'm hoping we receive a lot of turkeys this year so no one goes hungry," he said.
This year's giveaway event will take place from 9 to 11 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Sloatsburg Village Hall, 96 Orange Turnpike.
Each "bag" contains a frozen turkey, potatoes, vegetable and dessert for the veterans to cook on Christmas.
To donate, or to help, call Jarcho at 914-924-3249.
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