Pounds: Dine for vetsWritten by Tom Pounds | President / Publisher | firstname.lastname@example.org
The next two weeks will be a great time to eat out in Northwest Ohio.
First is Dine 419, a new weeklong restaurant event Feb. 23-March 1 that will raise money for Veterans Matter, a local nonprofit working to house homeless veterans. Toledo Free Press is proud to be a media sponsor of Dine 419. Then, from March 2-8, Restaurant Week Toledo returns for the fifth year to help raise funds for Leadership Toledo’s youth programs.
Since Veterans Matter was founded in Toledo in 2012, it has expanded to seven states and housed more than 500 homeless veterans, including 90 in Ohio.
Founder Ken Leslie was inspired after discovering there were thousands of veterans who qualify for permanent, supported housing and services from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), but lack the initial rental deposits necessary to secure the housing and get off the streets.
Veterans Matter bridges that gap by raising money to cover deposits, which are transferred directly to landlords, speeding up the housing process for veterans and their families to days instead of months.
Restaurants participating in Dine 419 include The Beirut, The Black Pearl, The Blarney Irish Pub, Burger Bar 419, Byblos, Forrester’s on the River, Hollywood Casino Toledo (Final Cut Steak & Seafood, Scene and Take 2 Grill), Jed’s, Jim Shull’s Rib Cage, La Scola Italian Grill, McDonald’s, Poco Piatti, Table Forty4 and Ye Olde Cock n’ Bull.
Supporting veterans is an especially personal cause for several of the restaurant owners. Blarney owner Ed Beczynski is a veteran. Cock n’ Bull owner Jim Mettler’s father was a veteran. I’m also the father of a service member. My son, Austin, is an Army sergeant, based in Alaska.
In her column this week, another passionate local veterans advocate, The Arms Forces founder Pam Hays, challenges us to walk the talk in supporting veterans.
“People say they love others and then continue to ignore their plight, too busy to do anything self-sacrificing for another unless it comes with some notoriety or tangible reward,” she writes. “On patriotic holidays we put flags on our porches and say we love our country, but what do we personally do to ensure those who protect our country have their needs met and know they are loved?
“The VA won’t do it all. The huge organizations won’t do it all. It is what individual communities do that has the most impact on veterans and their families reintegrating back home to their new lives.”
Dine 419 offers the perfect opportunity to take that first step toward meeting Hays’ challenge: In this case, you can help simply by going out to eat.
Toledo Free Press is joined as a media sponsor of Dine 419 by iHeartMedia, Cumulus Toledo, WTOL-11, FOX Toledo and Toledo.com. Hollywood Casino Toledo stepped up in a big way as presenting sponsor, with VFW Post 2898 Toledo and Bottomline Ink also offering support.
Thomas F. Pounds is president and publisher of Toledo Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com.