More than 13,000 lbs of food given to veterans


CLAREMORE, Okla. -- Disabled American Veterans handed out more than 13,000 lbs. of food in Claremore Wednesday.

The group had fruits, vegetables, canned goods, crackers and cookies to hand out to disabled veterans.

"We have a lot of veterans out there who need assistance in a lot of different ways and a lot of them get forgotten," Michael Zacharias, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, said. "We are just trying to bring back the spirit of the old days."

DAV host these giveaways pretty frequently. It is a way of veterans helping other veterans.

Johnny Messimore, a U.S. Army Veteran, said two of their members came up with the idea to hand out food over lunch one day. Since then, they have partnered with the Community Eastern Food Bank and other retailers to gather food.

They have done so many now that they have it down to a science.

"The veteran never has to get out of the car," Messimore said. "Just drive up through the middle of them and they will leave here with a lot of food."

Before they could hand out food, the DAV members and volunteers had to break down pallettes and package the food in bags.

Today, District Attorney Matt Ballard and his office volunteered to help. They even brought their support dog, Bear.

The group served 120 veterans.

"This means a lot for me, especially I’ve been on hard times for about four months now and struggling daily," Charles Steiner, a U.S. Air Force Veteran who received free food, said. "This just means the world. Put some food in my belly."

The disabled vets also left with a bouquet of red, white and blue flowers donated by Reasors.

"Just hope," Eric Neel, the store director for the Reasors in Claremore, said they wanted to provide veterans. "There are people out there that want to help and Reasors just wants to be part of that."

"That was kind of touching actually," Steiner said. "Kind of teary-eyed for a second. That was great... and a 'thank you' card too. That was awesome."

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