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8th annual free holiday meals for Veterans

Veterans will receive a turkey with all the fixings.

By Sarah Shurge – It’s important to give thanks to our veterans. That’s why Westland Mayor Bill Wild, Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa, Wayne-Ford Civic League President Vic Barra, and elected officials are coming together for the 8th Annual Holiday Meals for Wayne-Westland veterans and active duty families.
“This is a meal provided by your community in gratitude for your service,” said Barra. “We want veterans to get appreciation and pick up the meal even if they don’t need it. They can give it away to someone that does.”
The program is for Wayne-Westland veterans, surviving spouses, and families of active duty service members. All you have to do is register and then you will receive a free meal.
“This is a great program. The veterans I have met were very appreciative,” said Mayor Rhaesa. “I’m glad we are able to give back to the people that have served our country and now it is our chance to serve them.”
When the program originally started eight years ago, they were only handing out turkeys. However, it quickly grew after two years to supply an entire meal so veterans can invite their family or friends over to eat with them.
Once registered, recipients will receive a (12-16 pound) turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, and heat and serve rolls for a family of 6-8 people.
The meal is completely free, all you have to do is register using one of the four following methods:
#1: You can register online with the online form at cityofwestland.com/615/Holiday-Meals-for-Military-Members-Progr
#2: You can call the Mayor’s Office at either: Mayor Wild’s Office at (734)467-3200 or Mayor Rhaesa’s Office at (734)722-2000.
#3: You can download the Veteran’s Registration Form from the website listed above, fill it out, and email the completed form to either: Mayor Wild at mayor@cityofwestland.com or Mayor Rhaesa at jrhaesa@cityofwayne.com
#4: Or you can pick up a Veteran’s Registration Form at the Westland City Hall Greeter Station and drop the completed form off at either City Hall building.
Applications must be submitted no later than noon on Wednesday, November 17th, to receive a complete Holiday Meal for free.
Veterans, active-duty service members and/or their families can pick up their meal on Saturday, November 20th, between 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at the Wayne Ford Civic League on Wayne Road in Westland.
If for any reason you are unable to pick up your meal during the scheduled day or hours of pickup, contact the Wayne Ford Civic League at (734)728-5010.
Assistance, special arrangements, or delivery options are available. Westland Community Police Officers will be delivering meals to veterans.
“We make sure everyone gets their meal if they sign up for it,” said Barra.
Barra has been involved with the program since day one when it started eight years ago.
After retiring from Ford in 2019, Barra accepted the Director position under Mayor Wild. He also holds the title of Veteran Affairs Liaison. Barra is a veteran himself. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1977. Now, Barra manages all things veteran that go through City Hall.
“Giving back to the community is what I do,” said Barra. “This meal is a form of appreciation that’s tangible. It’s nice to hear thank you for your service.”

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