Volunteers from American Legion Auxiliary Illinois Unit 577 host events each week for veterans and active military at the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. Whether it is a simple Sunday bingo night, a more elaborate celebration for Independence Day, or their annual Christmas shop where veterans can shop for free for their loved ones, the Auxiliary’s presence is consistently felt at the center.

At many events, volunteers use the kitchen at the health care center because they travel up to 150 miles, making it nearly impossible to prepare food at home. The kitchen is also used daily by the 300 residents at the center. Last summer, many of the appliances began to fail. The refrigerators, freezers, stove, and microwave were all over 25 years old and were regularly malfunctioning.

Illinois Unit 577 applied for and received an American Legion Auxiliary Foundation grant for $3,378 to replace two refrigerators, two freezers, one stove, and one microwave. Their generosity inspired the local appliance store to donate another refrigerator to the center for free.

“It was a goal of mine to replace them,” said Kenneth List, Chief of Voluntary Services at James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. “Now I can cross it off my bucket list.”

As a Voluntary Services staff member, List does not have a budget to replace these items and relies on generous donations to upkeep the facility.

With the new appliances in place, more patients are now able to enjoy cooking fresh meals every day with friends, family, staff, and volunteers. Food donations have a longer lifespan as well, now that new freezers can store them.

“The new appliances have made a big difference and are used by everyone,” List said.

Make a donation to support causes like this at www.ALAFoundation.org/Donate.