As meat became hard to find on store shelves due to the pandemic, VFW Post 2772 in Sherman, Texas, discovered a unique way to feed their community.
“I found a hog hunter who was willing to donate any hogs he killed to help serve free meat to the public,” said Sr. Vice Commander Monique “Mo” Cooksey.
“The hogs were cleaned, quartered and smoked in my large smoker. The smoked meat was chopped and placed in one-pound bags for distribution each Sunday.”
Word spread through social media, and other organizations offered help with smoking meat and supplying wood, bags, foil, gloves, masks and hand sanitizer. Volunteers from Post 2772 Auxiliary and the community helped with packaging the meat and distributing the bags to people who drove through the pick-up area in the Post’s parking lot.
“When the hunter’s hogs quit coming in, our Post donated all of the meat we had in our freezers each week. When that meat was gone, our Auxiliary graciously purchased turkeys and hams to continue the project,” Cooksey said.
“We’re very proud of the work we did from our Post, and of all the work and donations of the volunteers to serve more than 500 families with free meat.”
Local news covered the Post’s efforts and it became clear that the impact went beyond simply giving away free food. The Post realized they were giving people hope.
Volunteers were moved as they served a woman living out of her car and a veteran who had just lost his home to a fire. Another veteran would come each week to sit in the parking lot so he had someone to talk to. One man felt bad that he didn’t have money to donate for the food, but he came back the following Sunday with wood for smoking.
“An elderly widow who came on Easter Sunday was upset that she couldn’t go to her regular service at church. I asked her if she would like to pray together and she said yes, so I prayed with her in the parking lot. She left with food and tears in her eyes saying she could now make it another week,” said Cooksey.
“It was a series of remarkable events and a group effort that kept our Post as a visible, meaningful contributor in our community.”