JONAS, Pa. — For some, it may be too early to start thinking about Thanksgiving dinner, but not for those who work at the Valor Clinic Foundation near Jonas.

The organization helps veterans get back on their feet, and is already fundraising for its holiday food drive.

This year, more than 530 vets and their families will receive food, and that number is expected to grow as the holiday approaches.

We will prepare 15,000 meals on Thanksgiving. “It’s a huge operation logistically, as we receive all the food, prepare it, sort it, get it ready to go and go out, and we don’t want to have any barriers,” said Mark Bayliss, the company’s founder.

That’s why the organization in Polk Township started collecting them earlier this year.

Bayless says the program has grown so much since last year that this year they will move their holiday meal box operation to Camp Trexler to help with food storage and sorting.

“It should be a fun holiday for the volunteers this year. The Scout camp director has been appointed by the people who bought the camp, and he’s in the process of creating a loop trail to get around. So people can get around, and we can feed the cars with food,” Bayliss said.

Bayless says he realizes money may be tight for many, but he hopes people will continue to lend a hand because the holiday food drive wouldn’t be possible without donations.

“If you come out with a donation or want to deliver a meal, we’d love to help you. The kegs have been out; if you see the list on the keg, please support. Bacon and turkey seem to be the biggest things we’re having a hard time getting,” Bayless said. “All the time, enough of it.”

Meal boxes consist of perishable and non-perishable foods.

Call the Valor Clinic Foundation at (570) 664-6468 for a list of donation box locations.

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