Pats, brewery distribute food

MERRIMACK – Military veteran’s cars lined up at the Anheuser-Busch on Monday, as the brewery partnered with Food4Vets to distribute meal kits for veterans and their families.

Food4Vets is part of a partnership between USA for Veterans and Military and the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation, with support from the New England Patriots Foundation and the Revolution Charitable Foundation.

Carla Reardon, assistant manager of the Anheuser-Busch Brewery Experience in Merrimack said they were contacted by the New England Patriots charitable foundation, requesting them to host a Food4Vets drive at the brewery.

“Our Anheuser-Busch team here in Merrimack is pleased to support our veterans and their families during this difficult time,” said Reardon. “The work the Food4Vets team is doing is incredible and whether it’s providing our facility as a meal pick-up location or rounding up volunteers, we’re here to lend a hand to support our local community.”

The Food4Vets program provides “vital food packages” to veterans, military families and veteran services organizations. These packages contain non-perishable foods and nutritionist-developed recipes to provide three meals a day for two people for 14 days. It was expected that the organizations would be distributing a total of 500 meals on Monday.

“We have our Anheuser-Busch volunteers set up and as veterans come in, they pop their trunk, and we put in the box of food,” Reardon said. “We maintain all the social distancing. They don’t even need to get out of their vehicles.”

Christopher Starck, director of corporate partnerships at Kraft Sports and Entertainment, said that organization reached out to Anheuser-Busch, a longstanding partner with them for over 20 years, to hold the event in Southern New Hampshire.

“Since the beginning of March, the Kraft family, the Patriots and the Revolution, have given away over 1.4 million meals to veterans in need during COVID-19,” he said. “The majority of our efforts have been at Gillette Stadium, so we reached out to our partners and asked if we could partner with them to distribute from other locations.”

USA Veterans and Military Support Foundation’s founder and CEO Don Cox said during these unprecedented times, everyone must do their part.

“We must all do all we can to meet the immediate needs of our veterans and their families,” he said. “Veterans with injuries and service-connected disabilities are our nation’s most susceptible and are at greatest risk today.”

Cox added that many are coping with weakened immune systems, increased isolation and financial hardship.

“We do all we can to help these veterans and their families through these immensely challenging times and thank all our partners whose assistance matches our commitment to provide 500 meals to veterans in need throughout New England.”

As for the Anheuser-Busch brewery biergarten opening anytime soon with Gov. Sununu’s new restaurant guidelines recently announced, Reardon said that is still being determined.

“Today, we’re just focusing on the Food4Vets,” she said.