BELFAST — They served in locations all over the globe, supporting our nation and each other. Today, they bring their fight and focus back home.

Randall Collins Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3108 is partnering with a handful of local and regional community organizations to provide support, services and outreach to Waldo County.

“Our priority is veterans,” said Post Commander Jim Roberts, “but we do everything we can to help the entire community.”

In early November members of Post 3108 partnered with the Belfast Curling Club and Waldo County Pet Food Pantry to deliver food and pet supplies to local veterans.

Members of the Belfast Curling Club, VFW and Waldo County Pet Food Pantry display the results of their pet food and supply drive. Pictured from left are Kat Smith and Heidi Blood of the Waldo County Pet Food Pantry, Commander Jim Roberts of VFW Post 3108, and Kathleen Cleason of the Belfast Curling Club. Photo Courtesy of Belfast Curling Club.

“The club contacted us and wanted to do something for veterans,” Roberts said. “They held a food and pet supply drive and asked us to help deliver the food to veterans throughout the community.”

Belfast Curling Club board member Kathleen Cleason said the club was looking to give back, and the partnership with the VFW and the Waldo County Pet Food Pantry was simple and successful.

“We’ve been renovating for awhile now,” Cleason said. “The community has really supported us. We felt we needed to give back and it all just worked out with the VFW and Pet Food Pantry. Many of our members have pets and understand that connection.”

Expecting a few boxes of food, Roberts was stunned when he and fellow veterans arrived to deliver the food.

“There were two full truckloads of groceries, food, bedding and pet supplies,” he said. “We made deliveries all over Waldo County.”

At Thanksgiving, veterans of Post 3108 partnered with the Belfast Lions Club to help deliver 170 Thanksgiving food boxes to families in need throughout the area. Weeks earlier, VFW members built a wheelchair ramp for a veteran who had had a recent surgery.

The post is currently working on its Christmas Is for Kids campaign, another partnership with Neighbors for Neighbors.

VFW Post 3109 Commander Jim Roberts stands amidst boxes of gifts for the organization’s Christmas Is for Kids program. Photo by Jim Leonard

“We have adopted 50 families with about 76 kids,” Roberts said. “We’ll supply the presents for those kids under the age of 18.”

Ames Elementary School in Searsmont is helping the veterans fill their Christmas Is for Kids orders. Deliveries for the program began Dec. 13 and will continue over the next few weeks.

The post also linked up with Waldo Community Action Partners to deliver food baskets for Christmas meals on Dec. 17.

VFW Post 3108 has its own food pantry on site at its Field Street facility.

The VFW Post 3108 has its own food panty. Photo by Jim Leonard

“The pantry operates the second and fourth Sunday of each month,” Roberts said. “They serve everybody. Of course, veterans have priority, but everyone is served.”

While Roberts spoke, a VFW Post member met with the widow of a veteran to assist her in filling out benefit paperwork.

Members of VFW Post 3108 provide color and honor guard details at events and funerals throughout Waldo County and visit schools to help educate and inform students about the importance of service.

“We’re out and about,” Roberts said, “always trying to do good things for the community.”

Their community service also provides an opportunity to get together and enjoy the familiar camaraderie of focusing on a common cause.

For VFW members, the call to serve is instinctual and, sometimes, therapeutic. The benefits of service are outlined in the national VFW’s Still Serving program.

“Still Serving is a program where those of us who have served in the military find a need to continue to serve our country and our communities,” Roberts explained. “What is happening is that we’re serving ourselves by helping others. Still Serving is very near and dear to our hearts. All of us here take great pride in the things we’re doing in our community.”