Jody Scheve and her daughter, Carly, are organizing what they hope to be a yearly event that will grow.
On March 7, the Ardrey Kell High School Junior ROTC will assemble meals for active service members or veterans in need. Those in need could be a family with a service member deployed overseas, an elderly or unemployed veteran or a family coping with a loss or illness.
Jody Scheve contacted Operation Homefront, and that organization is working to obtain a list of those who could benefit from a meal. According to its website, Operation Homefront “provides emergency financial and other assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors.”
The cadets will go to Switchin Kitchens, a locally owned business that enables folks to assemble meals onsite and then take them home to freeze and use at their convenience. Switchin Kitchens owner Rachel Basile is donating time at the facility.
“We would also love financial help from the community,” Scheve said. She encourages anyone interested to call or go by Switchin Kitchens before March 7 to pay for a meal.
For the cadets, the effort is considered a field trip, and they are funding 14 meals on their own. “It will be great for us to do some team building and give back to others,” said Carly Scheve, a ninth-grade ROTC member at Ardrey Kell High. “I just wanted to thank those who have served our country. We are very excited about going.”
Lt. Col. Robert Wint, commanding officer of the Junior ROTC, is supportive of the cadets’ efforts.
Carly Scheve thought of the idea when she was at a gathering with her mother.
“Carly heard folks talking about how they were providing meals to a family who had just suffered a loss, and it gave her the idea to do the same thing for veterans or service members,” said Jody Scheve.
The meals will be given to a liaison from Operation Homefront and distributed to those in need. The cadets will include a thank-you note with each meal.
The Junior ROTC club at Ardrey Kell has about 150 members.
Scheve’s son, Brad, was the former cadet commanding officer, and now attends Norwich University, a military college in Vermont.
ROTC students are not required to enter the military after high school. The Junior ROTC offers activities for members including volleyball, basketball and drill tournaments.
“They keep the cadets busy,” Jody Scheve said. “Along with the physical activities, they learn about world history, go to parades, perform color guard and collect Toys for Tots.”
Ballantyne residents Carrie Watts heard about the Junior ROTC event and said she thinks it’s a great idea.
Watts’ husband, Jamie Watts, is a first lieutenant and was a Bronze Star recipient during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“When my husband was deployed, I had two very young children,” said Carrie, now a mother of four. “There didn’t seem to be much organized support for families at the time. It would have been helpful to even have one meal provided.
“The active service members are making sacrifices overseas, but the families left at home are working just as hard for our country.”
Emily Mathias is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Emily? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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