Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, far right, gives a Thanksgiving meal to veteran Whitsal Y. McClinton of Trenton, far left, at the Trenton Vet Center in Ewing Nov. 20 with Freeholder Anthony Carabelli and Air Force Col. (Ret.) Norman MatthewsFull size photo

Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes, far right, gives a Thanksgiving meal to veteran Whitsal Y. McClinton of Trenton, far left, at the Trenton Vet Center in Ewing Nov. 20 with Freeholder Anthony Carabelli and Air Force Col. (Ret.) Norman Matthews

Contact: Julie Willmot
(609) 278-7137

Marazzo's vouchers purchased using more than $3,100 in donations from County residents

TRENTON, N.J. -Scores of military veterans gave thanks today as they arrived at the Trenton Veterans Center to pick up boxes full of Thanksgiving fixings bought with thousands of dollars donated by Mercer County residents.

As Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes and staff members of the Trenton Veterans Center distributed the boxes, veterans expressed their thanks to the hundreds of generous County residents whose donations toward foodstuffs and grocery vouchers will allow them to cook a holiday meal that otherwise may not have been.

"We are very thankful for all of the things the County has done for us vets," Army veteran and Trenton resident Whitsal Y. McClinton said as he waited for his meal. "A lot of the veterans are disabled, some of us have been homeless at one point, and we're all on a fixed income. Without this contribution, lots of us may not have a Thanksgiving dinner, so this is very important to us."

More than 50 veterans today collected meals that included a frozen turkey complete with vegetables, soup, desserts, and other items.

For the past six weeks, the Mercer County Office of Veterans Services has collected donations of all denominations to put toward grocery vouchers for food that veterans who did not pick up a box today can use to purchase turkey and the trimmings of their choice at Marazzo's Thriftway in Ewing.

"Our veterans have given so much to their country and to their communities here in Mercer County and they deserve a happy holiday season every year," Hughes said. "Through these donations, our residents are giving back and ensuring that these veterans and their families have a hearty Thanksgiving meal."

More than $3,100 has been collected so far during this year's drive, and funds continue to trickle in, Hughes said. Hughes also thanked the many businesses and other groups that donated to the drive, which will feed 105 veterans and their families this Thanksgiving.

The County will continue to accept donations of any denomination through the holiday season in order to purchase food vouchers for veterans and their families for other upcoming holidays. To donate, please send checks made out to Mercer County Trust Fund and mail or hand deliver to Mercer County Veteran Services, 2280 Hamilton Avenue, Hamilton, NJ 08619.  For more information, call (609) 989-6120.

Freeholder Anthony Carabelli joined Hughes yesterday in distributing the meals, and said supporting local veterans organizations is a crucial function of County government.

Vietnam veteran Julio Aviles of Trenton summed up the feelings of the veterans today as he headed home to his family with his meal.

"It's going to be a good Thanksgiving," he said.