Wendy’s restaurants in Pennsylvania are joining the fight to help struggling war veterans.
Representatives of Wendy’s presented a $25,000 check to the Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars on Friday at the Army National Guard Support Facility in Richland Township.
The money will help military families in the Johnstown, Altoona, State College and DuBois region, Wendy’s officials said.
Some veterans may need help paying utility bills while others are unable to pay the rent and risk being homeless, VFW state Cmdr. Ruth A. Fairchild said.
“It’s so important to take care of the veterans who come back and find themselves in hard times,” Fairchild said. “Usually they call and say ‘they’re going to turn my electric off’ or they can’t pay the rent this month, so we cut a check to pay the bill.”
This is the third year for Wendy’s Key Tag fundraiser, which has contributed a total of $52,333 to assist needy military families.
“The program is growing,” said Joseph F. Hundley, director of operations for Wendy’s Johnstown-Altoona District. “It’s one of the legacies of our founder, Dave Thomas, to give something back to the community.”
With ongoing troop deployments overseas, the need to help military families is increasing.
In June, July and August alone, the VFW received more than 50 telephone calls asking for help, Fairchild said.
Veterans receive a check within 72 hours, she said.
“It’s an absolute critical passion of mine,” said Wendy’s President Michael J. Beaver, who served in the special forces unit in the Army Security Agency in the late 1970s.
“It’s my heart to be able to take care of military families,” he said. “Our citizen soldiers put their lives on the line for our freedom, and we want to be able to do whatever we can.”
The Pennsylvania National Guard’s Military Family Program is helping the VFW to identify military families in need.