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Donor fills needy veterans’ plate

County’s food voucher program beefed up by anonymous veteran eager to ‘give back’

Needy Spokane County veterans will eat better for a few months because of a $10,000 donation.

A Vietnam-era veteran who wants to remain anonymous gave the money to the county’s veterans relief fund earlier this month.

“He’s called me since then, wondering if he can do anything else,” Chuck Elmore, county director of veterans affairs, told commissioners Tuesday.

In an interview, Elmore said the man told him he “had been fortunate through the years” and felt “it was time to give back.”

Elmore said he plans to add $10 to the next 1,000 food vouchers he issues to military veterans and veterans’ widows whose income is less than $1,300 a month.

Many of the county’s veterans and widows live on Social Security income of $600 to $800 a month, Elmore said. When one of them runs short, Elmore can issue a $65 food voucher every other month.

He adds $5 for each extra person in a household.

The money comes from property taxes under a state law that requires every county to operate a veterans relief fund.

Elmore said the $10,000 donation should fortify the food vouchers through March and possibly into early April.

One might expect the donation to last longer, but Spokane County has about 60,000 veterans, and the slumping economy “is really making it bad for a lot of them,” Elmore said.

He said most of the county’s veterans receive less than $1,300 a month, and his department issued more than 5,500 food vouchers last year.

Tags: veterans

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