CITY OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. — As it disbands because it no longer has enough members, a local VFW post is donating hundreds of thousands of dollars to groups that help veterans.
A few years ago, members of the Harvey D. Morin VFW Post #2940 made the tough decision to surrender their charter. They sold their headquarters in West Seneca and, after paying off all of their debts, had money left over.
The post opened 88 years ago and was founded mostly by World War I veterans. After World War II, they had 1,200 members. A few years ago, they were down to just seven or eight active members and it just wasn't feasible to maintain their large property on Center Road in West Seneca anymore.
"We needed to sell because we were drowning in debt and a developer, Young Development, purchased the property for half a million dollars, and we were able to pay off every nickel we owed, and then we spent four years deciding how can we start again," said Larry Bronowski, Harvey D. Morin VFW Post #2940 member.
"Where can we start again? What could we do? And during that time, we lost two key people. Two people very instrumental to what our post was experiencing. So it came to where we decided to surrender our charter."
They had a pile of money left over and it has to go to nonprofits and veterans groups. Over the past 45 days, they have donated about $385,000.
On Wednesday, they donated $20,000 to the veterans food pantry run by the group VALOR. This is the biggest single donation the food pantry has ever received in its 36-year history.
"It's going to allow us to buy an awful lot of food because we get donated food, but as you can imagine, there's a lot of stuff we need that doesn't get donated, and this is where it's worth its weight in gold because it allows us to make out a giant shopping list," says Paul Rudnicki, Chairman of the VALOR Committee.
This donation is Post #2940's last official act. Thursday night, they turn in the charter closing the chapter on 88 years of history.
The food pantry is always accepting donations. It is on Main Street in the City of Tonawanda.