From around Thanksgiving until New Year's, U.S. and Allied troops in military hospitals know that people appreciate them. There are special shows, events, and visits that come with the season. It is a time when family and friends can easily visit. There is an outpouring of love and hope for those few weeks.
Then, there is none.
The Post-Holiday Blues can be hard enough on those of us lucky enough to be in good health, and able to go about our normal lives. For those that are wounded, or otherwise find themselves in military hospitals, it can be much worse. Most or all of their family may be gone, and they find themselves alone and feeling lost or ignored after the torrent of love and attention that hit them during the holidays.
For those in Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany, this is particularly true. Here, in the hospital where all the seriously wounded, injured, or ill come, they can feel cut off from their units, their comrades, their families, and the world -- despite the best efforts of the staff and volunteers. It is here that the worst of the wounded await stabilization and their trip back to the United States, and it is here that those who can be treated for eventual return to their units will remain for treatment, physical therapy, and more. Though in a military hospital, they are still in a foreign country far from home and their normal support.
Gina Elise, of the non-profit Pin-Ups for Vets looked at this and decided that something had to be done. While she can and does bring a smile to the faces of those in our Veterans and Military hospitals with her smile, personality, and re-creation of WWII pin-ups, she also felt something more was needed.
So, she approached Cooking with the Troops with the idea of a partnership: we go together to do one of our special meals for the U.S. and Allied troops, family, and caregivers there, and in addition to that event, she would do hospital and other visits to help raise spirits and Fight the Post-Holiday Blues. To make it something even more special, author Michael Z. Williamson has agreed to go to give away books, make visits, and do what he can to help raise the spirits of those at Landstuhl and nearby.
To cap it off, professional chef Ellen Adams has agreed to be our guest chef. She will be visiting local farmers markets and stores, and using what is seasonal and local (as much as possible) to come up with a tasty and nutritious meal to be served at the USO Warrior Center.
To do this, we are looking to raise $15,000. Yes, this is a lot, but we are not just looking at this trip. The trip is expensive, both because of the travel costs and the vagaries of the exchange rate. That said, there are two things you need to know:
First, we are allocating $2,000 just for food ingredients, so that we can easily feed 150 or more. As with all previous trips, any money not spent on ingredients will go to stocking the ready-to-eat pantries in the wounded warrior barracks (Warrior Transition Barrakcs, or WTBs as they are officially known) and other facilities. From meals that can be heated in rooms by those who need some time alone, to snacks, to fresh fruit (bananas are a huge hit), we will stock them to the rafters before we leave. It's not just about a single meal, it's making sure they have food (and nutrition and comfort) for as long a time as possible.
Second, any funds not spent on the trip are going to be split between Pin-Ups for Vets and Cooking with the Troops, so that we can each do more. Nothing is going to waste, and we would really like to see this set both groups up for future events -- particularly more joint events.
The donate button is right here. Just hit it, and make a note it is for Op FPH Blues. If for any reason you are not sure the note takes, drop a line to CEO C. Blake Powers and let us know it was for Op FPH Blues. If we raise enough, good; if we raise more, great! The more we raise, the more both of us can do.
If you want to do a little extra, you can donate a calendar to be given away on this event by going here, choosing a calendar, and selecting "Order for a Hospital Visit."
Gina Elise started the non-profit Pin-Ups for Vets several years ago after hearing about underfunded veterans healthcare programs, and about veterans who never received any visitors while in the hospital. In honor of her late "Grandpa Lou," a WWII Army veteran, she decided to produce a WWII-style pin-up calendar and sell them to provide funding to expand healthcare programs at VA and Military hospitals nationwide. To date, she has made bedside visits to 19 Veterans and Military hospitals in 12 states to deliver her donated calendars, and by the end of the year will have raised $50,000 to improve programs for physical, cognitive, and occupational rehabilitation for our Nation's heroes.
Ellen Adams is a professional chef who specializes in personal nutrition and chef services. A 20-year Air Force veteran, including service in Operation Iraqi Freedom, she used her GI benefits to attend culinary school in the U.S. and in Italy. She delights in preparing foods from around the world, has participated in the "Annual Gingerbread House Challenge" at the Grove Park Inn in Ashville, NC, and will be seen on an upcoming episode of the MTV show "Made" providing culinary and nutritional guidance.
Author Michael Z. Williamson is a veteran who has written fiction, non-fiction, and science fiction with military themes or topics. Born in the UK, his family immigrated to the U.S. and he joined the Air Force at 18. He has gone on to serve 25 years in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force, both on active duty and in the National Guard. His service includes deployments for Operation Iraqi Freedom.
For More Information, please contact our Director of Communications Susan Katz Keating or our Media Department. If you are a company interested in sponsoring this or other activities, please contact CEO C. Blake Powers.
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Want to see a small part of the rich history of success that is Cooking with the Troops? Go to our About Us page for a photo gallery showing a small bit of past food events.