An upcoming event for local veterans and their families is a way to say “thank you” this Thanksgiving.

On Monday, more than 150 Thanksgiving baskets will be given away to veterans and their families from 8am to 3pm at the Livingston County EMS building on Tooley Road in Howell Township as part of the “Harvest for Heroes” event. The Region 9 Veterans Community Action Team will be handing out turkey and Dearborn ham baskets with all of the fixings on a first-come-first-serve basis. The event is being sponsored by the Livingston County Veterans Services Office and the Livingston County Lamplighters. The initiative began locally after it was discovered a large number of veterans in the county were going without thanksgiving meals.

Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Chapter 9 Regional Coordinator Josh Parish tells WHMI the underlying goal of any veterans event, Harvest for Heroes included, is to increase awareness and exposure to veterans in the area that may not know what benefits they’re entitled to. Parish says there are an estimated 11,000 veterans in Livingston County and believes there are around 3,500 dependents that may not know they might be entitled to the same benefits that their surviving spouse is. As part of that educational aspect, Parish says there will be more than 20 resource providers on hand from county, state and federal agencies to answer questions.

New at this year’s event is the presence of the Livingston County Clerk’s office providing a county veterans’ ID free of charge to attendees. Veterans that bring their discharge papers can also have them put on file for free.

Registration for “Harvest for Heroes” can be done through the link below, which Parish says is preferred if guests are interested in learning about future events; however, those that did not register are still welcome. (DK)