PATERSON, NJ - When the Great Falls Rotary Club opened the doors to its Military Assistance Pantry last year the organization started with junst one partner, the Passaic County Board of Realtors, and serving just five veterans.

On Saturday, at a special breakfast celebrating its first anniversary, Debbie Flower, the Club’s community service chair, announced that they could now boast 31 partners and 35 veteran families served.

Many of those veterans, including Julius Jones, were on hand enjoying the meal and togetherness, as well as showing their own appreciation for the support the pantry has offered them in the past 12 months.

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”Three years ago I was a homeless veteran, I didn’t know where to go,” Jones said. Today, he continued, the Navy veteran is “doing amazing” and considers himself healthy thanks to the Rotary Club’s support.

Also on hand was Charmaine Jones, another recipient of the pantry’s generosity. With her two children by her side the eight year military veteran told TAPinto Paterson that as a single parent she can really use the help.

“Everything is going up, rent, food, clothing,” Jones said. “The pantry really helps balance things out.”

For Jones, it’s not just the food and household goods provided by the pantry that she appreciates, it’s also the opportunity to be around other veterans.

“It’s good to gather with others that understand what each other has gone through.”

Also spending part of their Saturday morning supporting the Pantry, as they have many times before, were Isabella and Gabriella of Girl Scout Troop 9. The scouts, both nine years old, were joined by their mothers and were able to share their own understanding of the importance of community service, and especially helping veterans.

“They gave us freedom, they supported us” Isabella said. “Now it’s our turn to support them.”

“Veterans tried to do their best, and now we are trying to do our best,” Gabriella added before both girls headed over and shared smiles and a hug with Jones.

The Great Falls Rotary Club Military Assistance Pantry is located at Gordon Canfield Plaza, 160 Ward Street, and open the third Saturday of every month.


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