Housing Expansion Project Support

Recently both Fire and Iron Station 857 and the Sons Of the American Legion Squadron #193 (out of Winchendon) have donated in support of MVOC’s housing expansion project.

Fire and Iron Station 857 dedicated their 15 year anniversary party to raising $2000 for MVOC’s housing expansion project. Photo courtesy of Keith Kent and the Winchendon Courier.

To read the full story on the party and donation, refer to the Winchendon Courier’s write up in THIS edition post.

Sons Of the American Legion Squadron #193 presented MVOC with a $3,000 donation in support of MVOC’s housing expansion project.

For more information about our plans to expand, as well as details on donations and dedication, check HERE.

Rolling Thunder Vermont 1 Donates in Support of MVOC Housing Efforts

Many thanks to Rolling Thunder Vermont 1 for their generous donation to MVOC!
 
Pictured: Fred Blanchard, Vice President of Rolling Thunder Vermont Chapter 1 presented a donation of $2000 to Montachusett Veteran’s Outreach Center’s Executive Director, Stephanie Marchetti. This donation was made in memory of Marie Conlin.
 
Rolling Thunder is a non-profit motorcycle group that raises funds for these donations through a variety of activities: pancake breakfasts, raffles, calendar sales, etc. Most notably, Fred gigs as Santa Claus each holiday season and collects donations throughout that activity. Their mission is to honor past, present, and future veterans and you do not nee to be a veteran to participate in the club.

MVOC to expand into Winchendon Housing Complex

MVOC’s goal is to repurpose the vacant Streeter and Poland School Buildings in Wichendon, MA into 44 single resident apartments of veterans housing, with support spaces located on the 3.8 acre site. Activity areas are planned, with furnishings and equipment to invite resident use. Additionally, the site will include 22 parking spaces, a courtyard along with recreational areas, grill area and raised planting beds for gardening. In recognition of the veterans living at the development, there will be a columbarium memorial to provide a final resting place for residence.

More details are available in THIS December 2021 Gardner News story.

 

From the Gardner News: Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center continues mission of keeping vets warm

Original article published here, by Stephen Landry of The Gardner News.

GARDNER – Needy veterans throughout the region will be warmer this winter thanks to the generosity and warmth of spirit of members from three American Legion posts.

Representatives from the E.H. Phillips American Legion Post 102 in Athol donated dozens of winter coats Wednesday to the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center.

MVOC Executive Director Stephanie Marchetti said the donation came about a few weeks ago after she had casually mentioned to Scott Hume, service director of Post 102, that her organization was in the middle of a winter coat drive.

“We had happened to meet at another veterans event, and we’d never met before, and within a couple of days (Scott) had called and said he wanted to help,” Marchetti explained. “I just mentioned we had a need (for winter clothing) and here we have dozens of jackets.”

Post 102 Commander Peter Newman said giving back to the community is one of the most important things the American Legion could do – both for veterans and non-veterans – throughout the year.

“This is what it’s all about,” Newman said.

Legion officials had put out the call for warm winter clothing on various social media accounts, and the response was immediate, he said.

“This is what you get. It was a great response,” he said.

Shawn Kerwin, food pantry manager at MVOC, said he was touched by the outpouring of support.

“It’s amazing how many guys come in looking for a coat – sometimes we give away 20 a day,” Kerwin said. “Some of the veterans don’t even own a winter coat, so this is a really good thing. All of these coats will be used.”

Marchetti said the coats would be available to anyone who might need one.

“We will prioritize them for our veterans, but ultimately we just want folks who need them to have them,” she said. “If there are other folks in the city or community who need them, and we have them, we’ll provide them.”

Marchetti said MVOC was also in touch with other local organizations to track the need.

“This morning, I had a woman from the Gardner Emergency Housing Mission come by because she had a homeless couple who needed some clothes, so we gave them a couple of jackets and gloves and scarves. They weren’t veterans but they are cold and it’s winter so we helped them out,” Marchetti said. “And I know if we needed something from (GEHM), we’d give them a call too. I think ultimately the goal is to just help people who need it, and if we all know each other that means we can source it out to the right place.”

From the Gardner News: From warm coats to walkabouts, Great Gardner to honor its veterans

Original article published here, by Stephen Landry of The Gardner News.

GARDNER- Store discount, free winter coats and sponsored hikes are just some of the ways the Greater Gardner area is honoring local veterans this Veterans Day.

“I think a lot of organizations have really come together in the Gardner area this year for Veterans Day, which is great after last year when a lot of things were probably canceled,” said Stephanie Marchetti, executive director of the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center. “Some of that is a testament to the clear dedication in the community to veterans, and some of it is the result of some of the newer connections MVOC has made in the past few months.”

The Massachusetts Women Veterans’ Network will kick off its 16th annual conference with a “self-care” event at Dunn State Park on Nov. 13. More than 100 women from across the state are expected to attend the event, which will include hiking, yoga, vendors and other activities, according to organizers.

“I’m excited because this is our first time doing an outdoor wellness event with our annual conference,” said Marydith Tuitt, a member of the Women Veterans’ Network Steering Committee. “Dunn State Park was selected in part because it has hiking trails that are conducive to disabled hikers. Our theme this year is ‘wellness,’ not just mental wellness but physical wellness, so being able to be in an outdoor setting where we can truly enjoy the open air and gather together made Dunn State Park a perfect spot.”

The event will kick off a four-day, virtual conference that will include topics such as meditation, personal finance tips and a writing workshop. Anyone interested in finding out more should visit www.womenveteransnetworkmass.org/.

The Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center is partnering with the North County Land Trust for a veterans walkabout event at the Rome Conservation Area on Nov. 10.

“It’s about a two-mile hike, so it’s a little bit longer (than our other hikes), and it’s fairly flat and level terrain, but it winds through some very interesting woodlands and stream crossings and things like that,” said Anna Wilkins, executive director of the North County Land Trust. “It’s a great hike for people who want a nice, long walk in the woods. There’s no agenda other than to chat and have a nice walk, have a good time, and just be around folks and meet some new people.”

The walk will begin at 1 p.m. with a meet point at 69 Brookside Drive. All veterans in attendance will receive a free MVOC hat.

The Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center will be giving out free winter coats to veterans at their pantry in their headquarters building at 268 Central St. between 9 a.m. and noon on Nov. 12. MVOC has long provided donated coats to veterans upon request, but organizers decided this year to include a one-day event as part of the tradition.

“We just wanted to have one day where everybody could come in to get what they need, so that we weren’t just catching folks that came to us, but we were opening it to anybody who might be afraid to ask or have too much pride to ask,” Marchetti said, adding that there is a definite need among local veterans for warm winter clothing. “We have seen an increase in people who need help this year, especially in families. I think that’s maybe because a lot of folks are returning home from deployment.”

Marchetti said MVOC officials have collected about 80 donated coats to hand out this year. But she said nobody will need to worry if the supply runs out.

“If for some reason we run out, I will take people’s contact info and size, and we will get them a jacket,” she said.

Officials at Ocean State Job Lot have announced the return of their “Buy, Give, Get” program to benefit local veterans in need, in addition to their traditional Military and Veteran Deal Day campaign.

The Buy, Give, Get event, which began last month, invites customers to purchase a warm winter coat for $40 and then give it back to the store as a donation to a veteran in need. In return, the customer will receive a $40 Crazy Deal gift card to be used for a future purchase online or at any Ocean State Job Lot location.

Officials said the program has provided more than 10,000 winter coats for veterans over the past five years, and that approximately 50,000 winter coats will be available for purchase this season.

“What started out as a 600-coat test has developed into one of the largest programs of its kind serving veterans in need across the region,” said David Sarlitto, executive director of the Ocean State Job Lot Charitable Foundation. “Last year, our customers helped us to donate warm winter coats to over 40,000 veterans through our partner organizations across the Northeast, and we hope to keep even more veterans in need warm this winter.”

The company will also hold its annual Military and Veteran Deal Days promotion through Nov. 10. During the promotion, all military personnel, veterans and their immediate family members and dependents will receive a Crazy Deal gift card equal to 40 percent of their purchase of $20 or more, or a $40 gift card with a purchase of $100 or more.

Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center to Host Third Annual Speakers Series

Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center will host its Third Annual Jesse H. Stallings, Jr. Memorial Speakers Series on Thursday October 21, 2021 from 6:00pm-7:30pm. This is a free, online event open to all.

This year’s speaker will be former US Army 1st Lieutenant Melissa Stockwell. Melissa is a U.S. Army Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient as well as the first Iraq War Veteran to compete at the Paralympic Games becoming a 3-Time Paratriathlon World Champion and 2-Time Paralympian.

Stockwell speaks about the power of choice with an inspiring message of perseverance and perspective. From her active duty assignment in Baghdad to the Paralympic Games, her powerful presentation is aimed to inspire listeners to see ability over disability.

“We are honored and excited to have Lieutenant Stockwell joining us this year,” says Stephanie Marchetti, MVOC Executive Director, “she shares a powerful message that is relevant to so many of the veteran MVOC serves. I can’t wait to hear her speak, and I hope to see lots of folks join us in listening.”

The Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center serves those who have served by supporting military veterans and their families in need of assistance to develop a resilient, self-sufficient lifestyle essential to succeed in today’s environment.

For additional information about this event, including the link to join, please visit www.veterans-outreach.org/events

Sponsorship opportunities for this event are still available, please contact smarchetti@veterans-outreach.org

 

From the Gardner News: Elks Lodge 1426 donates to MVOC

Original photo published here.

Gardner Elks Lodge 1426 made a $1,000 donation to the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center on August 6th.

Pictured below: Michael Kowalewicz presents to Stephanie Marchetti, Executive Director of the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center, a donation of $1,000 as Tim Landry looks on. These funds were raised during the Gardner Elks Veterans Turkey Raffle. Funds will be used specifically for Unity House, a men’s residence in Gardner that Michael’s late wife Jean was instrumental in starting decades ago.

From the Gardner News: State and local officials tour MVOC building

Original photos published here.

Members of the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal affairs joined local officials for a tour of the Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center on July 12. Leading the tour was MVOC Executive Director Stephanie Marchetti.

From left: MVOC board of director members Dan Piper and Bob Rice; Gardner Mayor Michael Nicholson; Rep Paul McMurtry; Sen John Velis; MVOC Executive Director Stephanie Marchetti; Sen John Cronin; Rep Jon Zlotnik, Rep Kelly Pease; Rep Ted Philips

MVOC’s Executive Director Stephanie Marchetti discusses the organization’s future plans with state and local officials during their July 12, 2021 visit.

MVOC hosts first resident event of the summer

On Wednesday July 7, in observation of Independence Day, Montachusett Veterans Outreach Center (MVOC) hosted a “4th on the 7th” BBQ at its main building. This marks the MVOC’s first gathering since before the pandemic.

Residents of the MVOC’s five facilities gathered with staff for a casual BBQ and an introduction back into the community programming MVOC is known to host for area veterans.

“Residents and staff have missed the opportunity to gather and relax together this past year,” notes Executive Director Stephanie Marchetti, “so we were all excited for this return to normalcy and fun. The MVOC looks forward to reinvigorating community engagement and activities over the next few months.”

MVOC offers veterans throughout central Massachusetts housing, mental health counseling, employment skills building, personal development, and benefits resource guidance. The organization also assists with transportation and food security.

For the remainder of summer, the MVOC is open by appointment to Veterans and their families in need of mental health counseling and benefits guidance. The food and clothing pantry is open, no appointment needed, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9am-12pm. The organization looks forward to reopening its walk-in center at 268 Central Street in Gardner on Tuesday September 7th.