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CASA GRANDE — Although the Veterans of Foreign Wars is temporarily closed to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a group of volunteers has begun using the club’s kitchen as a base from which to feed the community.

The group, organized by the Marine Corps League’s M901 Detachment, is making free takeout breakfasts twice a week for anyone who wants one.

On Wednesday, the group served 35 take-out meals at the VFW and delivered another 70 meals and care packages to area residents. About 19 of the meals were delivered to cancer patients of Alliance Cancer Care Center.

“This is a service to the community. Being a veteran is not a requirement to receive the meal,” said Ross Scanio, M901 commander and organizer of the event. “All that is required is you make us aware of a need in the community.”

The M901 Marine Corps League Detachment is a civilian community service organization.

Wanting to help others, the group teamed up with other organizations and volunteers to use their combined resources and manpower to help the community at a time when coronavirus and self-distancing has made it difficult for some people to acquire basic food and necessities.

“We are engaging other veteran and non-veteran nonprofits to bring as much horsepower to the table as possible,” Scanio said. “Most of us veterans are members of multiple groups. My memberships include Marine Corps League, VFW, CVMA, R4TW, MIAP, among others, and this is typical. Our hope is that we can all work together to accomplish real time missions at times like these.”

The group will make hot meals twice a week and offer them from 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Care packages of necessities will also be offered.

A drive-thru service has been set up in the parking lot to the west of the VFW, 111 E. Second St.

“We will also have a delivery option available for those who are not able to come to us,” Scanio said.

Scanio hopes the program will continue throughout the length of the coronavirus self-distancing period or “until there’s no need left.”

The group is working under the social media name of “MMV4G” or Mobile Military Veterans/Vehicle 4 Good.

They welcome help from area residents who want to volunteer or donate.

“Veterans and other concerned citizens are putting together acquisition teams, sort and package teams, food prep and mobile distribution teams,” he said.

The M901 organization frequently conducts fundraisers and community events. Each year, the organization runs a Toys for Tots drive during the Christmas season. Last year, the group’s toy drive collected 6,700 toys, which it delivered to 3,800 kids in Pinal County.

For the duration of the coronavirus self-distancing period, those wanting assistance, or those wanting to help, may send an email to one of four email addresses:

need@m901.org

surplus@m901.org

volunteer@m901.org

donate@m901.org

For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page.

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Melissa St. Aude is the Arts & Entertainment editor at PinalCentral. She can be reached at mstaude@pinalcentral.com.

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