Food distributed to veterans

IRON MOUNTAIN – More than 3,000 veterans and family members from across the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin flocked to the Oscar G. Johnson VA Medical Center in Iron Mountain for a free food distribution event.

Each family unit, of which there were more than 1,000, received 50 pounds of free food. Items included fresh fruits and vegetables, frozen meats, flour, potatoes, juices, chips, and cookies.

In total, there were 40,000 pounds of food to distribute.

The event was made possible by a coalition of three non-profits – Feeding America of Western Michigan, the Seventh-Day Adventist Food Pantry & Community Center of Escanaba, and the Patriot Guard Riders. The VA provided the space for distribution.

“It was a huge turnout,” said VA Public Affairs Officer Brad Nelson. “Much bigger than we expected.”

Nelson said that people had started to line up well before 7 a.m. Wednesday, which was more than two hours before the event was scheduled to begin. At its longest, the wait in line was about three hours, he added.

“Feeding America even said this was the biggest thing they’ve ever done,” said Nelson.

Local veterans were not the only ones to take advantage of the event. Nelson also counted veterans from Escanaba, Marquette, and even De Pere, Wis.

Nikki Younk’s e-mail address is