The Gary Sinise Foundation has pledged to donate up to 20,000 meals to Veterans Affairs’ health care and front-line workers battling the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Wednesday.
The meals will be made available to over 80 different VA medical facilities across the nation in the next few weeks, according to a VA media release.
“Donations like this mean a lot to our VA staff as they are on the front lines of caring for our nation’s Veterans every day,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said.
“We are very appreciative of this donation during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Elizabeth Fields, the chief operating officer of the Gary Sinise Foundation, said the donated meals will come from local restaurants near the different medical facilities to help with “stimulating local economies and helping communities.”
“Up to 250 meals will be donated to each facility depending on size and need,” Fields said.
The Gary Sinise Foundation has been helping meet the needs of veterans, first responders, military and health care workers through its Emergency COVID-19 Combat Service since April 1.
It has provided personal protective equipment for people on the front lines and donated decontamination equipment to people across the country.
“We’re supporting first responders, front-line workers, health care workers, Gold Star families, you name it,” actor Gary Sinise told the “Brian Kilmeade Show” in April.
“Everybody’s been impacted by having to stay home from work or go to work because they’re a first responder and they’re needed out there so we’re trying to make a difference.”
As of May 26, the foundation has provided 5,153 pieces of personal protective equipment, served 33,584 meals, helped 57 first responder departments and assisted 26 states, according to the foundation’s website.
One organization that has benefited from the charitable foundation is the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The foundation donated reusable face shields to the department as gloves, goggles and face shields have become hard to find, KABC-TV reported.
“Thank you for all the support. You’ve supported us with other donations and equipment. And this is a big deal for us,” LAFD Assistant Chief Wade White said.
Sinise responded, “You are courageous. You inspire us all. God bless you. Thank you very much. I’m a grateful American. Be safe.”
The foundation’s announcement comes as the number of coronavirus deaths in the United States has reached 102,323 as of Friday, according to Johns Hopkins.
There are over 1.7 million cases of COVID-19 in the United States and over 5.8 million worldwide.
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