Veterans advocate makes $11K donation toward Thanksgiving meals

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A philanthropist from West Islip made an $11,000 donation to Long Island Cares Wednesday – an agency that helps approximately 1,300 veterans across Long Island.

The donation from Steven A. Castleton, who serves as civilian aide to the secretary of the Army, will go toward providing Thanksgiving meals to 500 veterans.

"Why people who serve their country willingly...would find themselves going from the front lines on the battlefield to a bread line at a food pantry. That shouldn't be," says Long Island Cares CEO Paule Pachter. "That isn't the reality of America and that shouldn't be the reality of Long Island."

Juan Rivera spent over three decades serving his country in the Army and Air Force, but he is now one of those struggling to make ends meet. He relies on help from Long Island Cares.

"Without them I wouldn't be here. Period," says Rivera.

Volunteers spent their Wednesday unloading incoming food donations and packing up meals for those who need them.

Thanks to those volunteers and donations, Rivera says he is looking forward to sharing his Thanksgiving meal with his wife and daughter.

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