SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- It started with a collection to help fund a barbecue at a veteran's facility and has grown to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
When Steve Hackenberg approached Vinnie Locavio of Scotch Plains' iconic John's Meat Market, he had no idea that customers of New Jersey's top butcher would eventually contribute $7,000 to purchase meals for veterans struggling to overcome addiction and other issues.
"I'm overwhelmed," said Steve Hackenberg, who volunteers for the Valley Brook Village, a community for homeless veterans at Lyons VA Hospital in Basking Ridge.
Valley Brook, which was built with private equity money in a federal facility, has 95 apartments. Residents, formerly homeless veterans, have to rebuild their lives within two years (when they must leave). Many of them are overcoming alcohol and drug addiction and other issues.
"Our customers are so generous; I can't believe it," exclaimed Vinnie Losavio. "We're going to keep doing this."
The vets made a video to thank John's Meat Market for the support. Watch it here.