LEHIGHTON, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— Last year, Lehighton American Legion distributed food to a handful of veterans, today they had more than 180 people picking up boxes.

Eyewitness News spoke with the organizations involved who say they’re in awe at how much this program has grown.

Second Harvest Food Bank boxes fill the inside of American Legion Post 314 in Lehighton, ready to be handed out to veterans facing food insecurity in the area.

The Military Share Program is the first of its kind in the county.

“I think it just gives the veterans that level of comfort coming to the American Legion where they know they’re welcomed and there’s really no stigma of coming here,” said Nicole Folino, Development Officer at the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Volunteers worked like a well-oiled machine as milk, eggs, and protein are passed down the assembly line.

“The majority are our senior citizens, which are in dire need at these times and this is something that’s from our hearts,” said Henry Desrosiers, the president of the Carbon County Veterans Council.

The program is seeing incredible success after just one year of providing the service in Lehighton.

“We started just about a year ago, September 2021, with seven sign-ups. So we distributed seven shares last September, and today it’s grown to 182 shares,” Folina told Eyewitness News.

Sharing the message only by word of mouth, all to serve those who have put their life on the line.

“It’s the comradery that comes amongst not only the veterans but their spouses and other organizations. Blending all together, just to work together to help our fellow veterans,” said Desrosiers.

“My opinion is if you’re a veteran, you deserve it, come and get it,” said Rocky Ahner, a Carbon County Commissioner.

Eyewitness News asked organizers what their goal is for next year and they said the more the merrier, they just want to help out all veterans in need.

If you’re a veteran and would like to sign up, you can click here for Second Harvest Food Bank’s website or call the Carbon County Veterans Council President at 570-325-3420.