Annual Thanksgiving dinner at Clear Path for Veterans to serve 500-plus

Veteran Alfred “Earl” Stone of Chittenango enjoys the offering of the 2017 Thanksgiving Day dinner at Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango. (Photo courtesy Clear Path for Veterans)

Annual Thanksgiving dinner at Clear Path for Veterans to serve 500-plus

More than 100 volunteers at Clear Path for Veterans in Chittenango will help prepare for a complimentary Thanksgiving Day dinner that will be served to more than 500 Veterans, active duty, Reserves, Guard and their families.

The Thanksgiving dinner became a practice at Clear Path in 2013 when Co-Founder Melissa Spicer approached then Culinary Manager Andrew Miller who was excited at the prospect. In the six years since, volunteers have become regulars – many signing up to participate in just this meal. The tradition has expanded to include two dozen volunteers preparing the week ahead and more than 75 people volunteering on the day of the dinner.

“We are so grateful to the amazing culinary team that assembles for this dinner every year,” Spicer said, “and to the many staff who volunteer to work at the dinner. This is truly an act of serving our Veterans, and speaks directly to our vision of creating a caring community within our walls and beyond.”

According to Feed Our Vets, a non-profit organization that has provided more than 750,000 pounds of food since 2008 to Veterans struggling with food insecurity, many Veterans and Veteran families will go hungry on Thanksgiving. Many of them face food insecurity not just the fourth Thursday of November, but all month long. Approximately 130,000 Veterans are homeless and/or hungry on any given night in U.S.

Although the Thanksgiving Day dinner at Clear Path was not created to alleviate hunger from the most vulnerable Veterans in the area, it does provide respite and a sense of comfort and community.

“Clear Path for Veterans has become a homebase for military members, Veterans and their families. It’s a family all its own,” Spicer said. “The community loves to support Veterans by volunteering and have made it a tradition to volunteer with their kids.

“One Veteran said their family lives out of town and they’ve typically had Thanksgiving alone. Another family said Clear Path has become a place where their family member has found social wellness and is proud to be able to bring their family to meet their Clear Path family.”

The menu – this year being crafted by Clear Path’s new Culinary Program Manager Karen Krull-Robart – features a wealth of traditional Thanksgiving fare. There will be four seatings this year: 11 a.m. to noon, noon to 1 p.m., 1-2 p.m. and 2-3 p.m.

Veterans can make a reservation online at www.TinyURL.com/CPTDAY18 or by calling (315) 687-3300.

About Clear Path: Clear Path for Veterans is Upstate New York’s Veteran Resource Center, serving as a hub of information, programs and resources. Located just 14 miles east of Syracuse, the Chittenango-based non-profit relies on partnerships and collaboration, allowing it to act as a single point of contact for active duty, Reserve, Guard, Veterans, and their families to connect them with what they need within 23 counties in New York.

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