On May 12, 15 residents of the New Jersey Memorial Veterans Home in Vineland traveled to Sea Isle City to enjoy a luncheon held in their honor at VFW Post 1963.
When they arrived in town, the guests were greeted by members of Post 1963’s Auxiliary, which hosted the luncheon with the assistance of numerous veterans from the Post.
The gathering included a lunch with homemade desserts, live music, shuffleboard games, dancing and plenty of camaraderie. There was also a random drawing that resulted in one of the luncheon guests winning $50.
Traditionally, the Auxiliary members have hosted this event on an annual basis, but the luncheon was on a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.
“We were ecstatic that they could join us again after three long years, because our veterans are very important to us,” Post 1963 Auxiliary President Patti Lloyd said in the news release. “Veterans are the heart and soul of this country, and it is our honor and privilege to offer them a simple gesture such as a luncheon.”
After past luncheons, the visiting veterans would each return home to Vineland with individual “goodie bags” that were filled with treats.
However, this year the members of Post 1963 had a different plan, which came in the form of a $1,000 donation to the Memorial Home’s Life Enrichment Program.
“All of our veterans are very important to us,” Lloyd said. “The goodie bags we gave them in past years were intended just for the guests who attended the luncheon, but this year we wanted to give something that would benefit all of the residents of the Veterans Home, so we decided to make a cash donation.”
At the end of the luncheon, the Memorial Home residents returned to their bus. At that time, they were informed that a police escort would lead them to the beach so they could enjoy the fresh salt air. Several took the opportunity to step outside for a short walk on the sand.
“It was great to speak with our visiting guests, to hear about their individual histories, and to learn their different divisions of service,” Lloyd said. “Our Auxiliary members were very honored that we could hold this event again.”
In addition to hosting an annual luncheon for the residents of the Veterans Home in the spring, each December the members of Post 1963’s Auxiliary also organize a “Christmas Caravan.” For the Christmas Caravan, Auxiliary members load vehicles with donated gifts and travel to Vineland to shower the facility’s residents with love and holiday cheer.
VFW Post 1963’s Auxiliary is the largest and most active VFW Auxiliary in New Jersey.
To learn more about the many ways the Auxiliary supports the nation’s veterans and active-duty military members, visit http://vfwauxiliary1963.com.
Donations to the Auxiliary can be mailed directly to VFW Post 1963, 301 JFK Boulevard, Sea Isle City, N.J. 08243.