Forty frozen turkeys were donated to Boots on the Ground...

Forty frozen turkeys were donated to Boots on the Ground in Ronkonkoma to be delivered to military and veteran families before Thanksgiving. (Nov. 16, 2013) Credit: Brittany Wait

Adding to the tables and shelves filled with boxes of stuffing and nonperishables, Michele and Scott Beauchamp dropped off two turkeys, a ham and all the fixings.

They were among the families that stopped by Boots on the Ground NY’s Veteran Activity Center in Ronkonkoma to donate turkeys and other thanksgiving items on Saturday.

Boots on the Ground, an organization run by military veterans, collected a total of 40 turkeys Saturday and would later deliver the food to veterans.

Throughout the year, the group is dedicated to regularly visiting the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center just outside Washington D.C., and collecting and delivering food and furniture to vets.

Members of the organization had taken the Beauchamp family under their wing after Army veteran Scott Beauchamp, 44, was injured by a roadside bomb on Dec. 28, 2010 while serving in Afghanistan. He was treated at Walter Reed for a broken back, injured left shoulder, crushed left hand and a traumatic brain injury.

“This is one of the ways we try to give back for all they did for us,” said his wife, Michele Beauchamp, 44, of Woodmere. “These donations go along way. It makes their day. Our family wasn’t forgotten, so it’s important to us that other families aren’t forgotten.”

Army veteran Frank Bania, president of Boots on the Ground NY, said the organization’s main mission is to leave no veteran behind and help them get back on their feet.

“We collect food year round and we’ll be running a food pantry out of the space for veterans who need our help,” said Bania, 44, of Patchogue. “We’ve been collecting turkeys for three years, but this is the first time we’re collecting at our new location.”

The organization, which also sends care packages abroad, will be officially opening the Veteran Activity Center, at 2184 Pond Road Unit A4, in two weeks, Bania said. It will provide a food pantry, recreational area, computer classes and veteran support programs.

Boots on the Ground NY will deliver Thanksgiving meals to veteran and military families again on Nov. 23, and will continue to accept donations of frozen turkeys and all the fixings Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“It’s a shame that the veterans who need help don’t always ask for it. Veterans are humble,” said Bania. “There is a big need for meals even more so than ever.”

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