Last updated on August 29th, 2022 at 03:45 pm
Barefoot in 20-degree weather with only the clothes on his back, the highly decorated veteran of the South Pacific found himself homeless in the land he fought to protect. It wasn’t until he crossed the threshold of 75 West Baker St. in Manchester, N.H. that he found long-overdue respect, warmth and shelter.
That is just one of the stories told by residents of Liberty House, the nonprofit veterans’ assistance organization dedicated to providing transitional housing as well as medical and job assistance.
When AG New England discovered what Liberty House needed, employees began donating gloves, boots, hats and winter coats. Within days, a mound of outerwear was presented to Liberty House Program Director Bill Zarakotas.
“These items will go a long way in keeping our residents and clients warm this winter. With all the other issues they face, it’ll be nice for them not to worry about their basic need to stay warm,” Zarakotas said.
AG New England has a reputation for helping the community.
Mike Bourgoine, president and CEO of AG New England, said: “We are proud to do our part in assisting our veterans. The outpouring of donations from our employees was heartwarming to see and indicative of the AG New England culture.”
Liberty House receives 80 percent of its funding from individual donations and grants from private foundations. During their stay at Liberty House, residents are part of a supportive veteran community that helps to keep them optimistic and committed to their goals.
AG New England is owned entirely by Independent Retail Grocers as members of a cooperative and is the largest retailer-owned, wholesale grocery distribution center in New England. The cooperative serves independent retail food stores in Maine, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the Upstate New York/Albany area.
In the photo at top: AG New England’s Jim Gaudet, left, Chris Lyle and Mike Bourgoine present employee-donated outerwear to Liberty House Program Director Bill Zarakotas, third from left.