Red Cross to serve up breakfast and resources to service members and their families during drive-up Veterans Day event

By Olivia Wyles, American Red Cross communications volunteer

December 17, 2019. Louisville, Kentucky. Hero Care Call Center. Photo by Bill Wine/American Red Cross

As Veterans Day draws near, one of the American Red Cross’ major lines of service, Service to the Armed Forces, draws closer to our hearts. Year after the year, the Red Cross has sought to support current and retired members of our U.S. Armed Forces and their families in any way possible.

Since the tragic event of 9/11 that shook our country, the Red Cross has served well over 1 million military families through services including (but not limited to):

  • providing home comforts and critical services on military bases around the world
  • supporting families while their loved ones are deployed or are experiencing an emergency
  • offering continued support after their time with the armed forces ends

Despite the challenges that this year has presented, including preventing the Red Cross from hosting its usual events honoring those who have selflessly served our country, military members and their families will still receive Red Cross support. 

Every year, of Toledo, Ohio, and the Red Cross host a Veterans Day breakfast that typically draws over 500 members of the armed forces and their families and friends. All currently serving and retired members of the armed forces and their families are invited to participate in a huge breakfast as well as have the opportunity to meet other families and visit vendor booths to access resources and information. The goal of this breakfast has always been to foster community and provide information for crucial services available to veterans such as dental services, mental health access, housing options, legal services, educational opportunities and more. 

Veterans Day Breakfast, Toledo, Ohio 2019

Peggy Holewinski, Regional Gift Officer for the Northern Ohio Region of the Red Cross, shared some insights as to what this breakfast will look like this year. This Veterans Day, Toledo officials and Red Cross staff will host a drive-up event for veterans and their families. Guests will arrive by vehicle and receive one of the over 500 bags of prepared breakfasts—thanks in part to local organizations that have donated food. Not only will veterans and their families receive a fresh, delicious breakfast, but those 500 bags will also contain resources and information attendees would normally receive at the in-person event. Although this year’s event will be quite different, Peggy expects a big turnout. 

“I think it’s really important to make sure veterans know how much we appreciate them and how much they have done for this country,” said Peggy. “Without them, we wouldn’t be free, and it’s so important for people to understand that.”

Well said, Peggy. The Northern Ohio Region of the Red Cross plans to make sure our veterans feel supported and appreciated just as much this year as in previous years.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer


Cherished volunteer is taking her talents to Toledo

Lake to River Chapter says goodbye to Tab Alden

August 16, 2019- The first moon landing was still a year away when Tab Alden first volunteered for the American Red Cross.  She has been a mainstay in the Lake to River Chapter ever since, screening prospective volunteers when they first come through the door of the Youngstown office, registering guests at the annual Acts of Courage awards, and visiting hospitalized veterans at the region’s VA facilities are among the many tasks she has tackled in the past 51 years.

Tab doesn’t plan to stop volunteering for the Red Cross anytime soon.  But she does plan to do it from a different location.

Tab is moving back to Toledo.

“It’s important to be with family, and I have a brother and nieces and nephews back in Toledo.  I’m moving back to be with them.”

The staff of the Lake to River Chapter surprised Tab with a going away party on Thursday, August 15. She reminisced about the more than half a century she has spent as a Red Cross volunteer.

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“It may be hard to believe, but I wasn’t very outspoken back then,” she said.  “The Red Cross helped bring me out of my shell.”

Karen Conklin, the executive director of the Lake to River Chapter, said she’s known Tab longer than almost anyone else. “She’s been with me so long, I can’t imagine what it will be like without her.”

She said Tab will always have her Red Cross family in the Lake to River Chapter.  “We’re going to miss her.  We’ve been so blessed to have her here for so long.”

See more photos from Tab’s going away party in our Flickr album.