Giving Back

Buy a Vet a Burger at John's Meat Market in Scotch Plains Grows to Thousands of Meals

Scotch Plains Township officials stopped by John's Meat Market on Veteran's Day to thank Vinnie Losavio for his efforts to help vets overcoming difficulties. Credits: John Mooney
Buy a Vet a Burger has grown to include Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since the summer, customers of John's Meat Market have contributed $7,000 to help. Credits: John Mooney
Steve Hackenberg and Sharon Vopal volunteer to help homeless vets reclaim their lives. Credits: John Mooney

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. 

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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.



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Scotch Plains/Fanwood

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