Veterans helping veterans in Fort Myers

Veterans are helping veterans with a food and supply drive at a Fort Myers warehouse.

“Today, Hearts and Homes is opening up to our homeless and low-income veterans,” said Don Payton, founder and president of Hearts and Homes for Veterans.

“I was in Vietnam back in 1969 … so I started this because I didn’t want any other veterans to fall through the cracks.”

Payton’s charity kicked off a special food and supply drive on Monday for local military families.

“We have put together bags of food, and bags of household goods, toilet paper, paper towels, aluminum foil…”

Payton said Midwest Food Bank and the community contributed food.

“We are so lucky that this community has been so generous.”

Anyone picking up items at the warehouse on Alicia Street – off Fowler – must follow CDC guidelines for social distancing.

“We have divided it up so they maintain their six-foot intervals, their social distance,” Payton said.

A path is marked with tape and signs to help, and masks are worn by everyone on site.

“We’re expecting 300 to 500 veterans,” Payton said.

“When you have somebody that has a family but has nothing, then to be able to come over and at least get some nutrition … it at least gets them through the week,” said Tom Donoghue, vice president of Hearts and Homes for Veterans.

“For me, it’s important that we take care of the veterans of this country.”

The food and supply drive continues Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the charity’s warehouse, 2230 Alicia St. Veterans will need to bring a copy of their DD 214 form and a picture ID.

They ask that you call ahead at 239-674-1719. For more information, visit their website.

Reporter:Melinda Lee
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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