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April 24 Fundraiser Will Benefit Local Hospitalized Veterans

By Michael P. Mauer, VFW District 29 PAO

Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ West Mifflin would like to invite you to dinner.

 

VFW _Spaghetti_1
Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 914 ‘Intrepid’ Commander VFW Post 914 Commander Jake Bradich gets ready for a spaghetti dinner Sunday, April 24 from noon to 6 p.m. at the Thompson Run Athletic Association on 4901 Ball Ave., West Mifflin. The unit will be hosting its first large fundraiser in nearly two years to help hospitalized veterans. (Photo by Kolleen Barva-Hamlin)

The award-winning VFW will host a spaghetti dinner Sunday, April 24 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. at the Thompson Run Athletic Association on 4901 Ball Ave., West Mifflin.  On the menu will be spaghetti and meatballs, salad, garlic bread and choice of soft drink.  Donation will be $13 for each adult, and $7 for children 6 to 14 years old.  Those five years of age or younger may eat for free if accompanied by an adult.  Assorted desserts will also be available for a donation.  Also featured will be a raffle of gift baskets and prizes, as well as other fundraising.

According to VFW Post 914 Commander Jake Bradich, this is the group’s first major fundraiser since COVID-19 pandemic social distancing restrictions were put into place more than two years ago.

“We use 100 percent of our donations for our hospital visitation program,” the Iraq War veteran said.  “The pandemic really put a dent in our budget, and kept us from going out into the community and soliciting contributions the way we normally do.  This spaghetti dinner will help us get what we need to help local veterans, and give something back to our community as well.”  

Bradich added that the money raised by the fundraiser will directly benefit residents of the nearby state veterans’ home.  Located approximately six miles from West Mifflin, Southwestern Veterans Center is an assisted living facility run by the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.  It serves more than 200 area veterans and spouses who are disabled, chronically ill, or in need of specialized care.  Patients there have been the focus of VFW Post 914’s hospital visitation program for more than 30 years.

Bradich said that in addition to grant money provided through the VFW foundation, VFW Post 914 usually funds its hospital visitation program through Buddy Poppy donations.  The pandemic, however, necessitated a quick and immediate change.  As social distancing protocols effectively scratched Buddy Poppy fund raising throughout the state over the past two years, the post began attracting donations through social media a few months ago.

“The spaghetti dinner is a new tactic for us,” said Bradich.  “We’re putting a lot of effort into this.”  

The West Mifflin VFW post uses its donations to buy refreshments and snacks for veteran patients and residents, as well as to purchase coupon books, and fund small cash prizes during bingo games.  Patients at Southwestern Veterans Center use these windfalls to purchase things such as toiletry items and other sundry articles at the hospital canteen. 

The money raised by the VFW post fills a need.  Many of the veterans and other residents at Southwestern Veterans Center are indigent, and what little financial support they have by way of pension or government benefits are utilized by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to help fund their care.  The bingo games conducted by VFW Post 914 are managed in such a manner as to ensure everyone who participates is a winner, and all will receive some of the small cash prizes.

For more information about the spaghetti dinner fundraiser, contact commander Bradich at: 412-508-1313

(Michael P. Mauer is the Public Affairs Officer for VFW District 29.  He served as an Army photojournalist during Operation Desert Storm, and was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal by Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf for his actions during the war.)

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