Veterans feed fellow veterans and other hungry New Jerseyans

Every Tuesday since March 2020, dozens of cars have wrapped around the block of the First Baptist Church in Englewood, New Jersey. Each vehicle is filled with people patiently waiting for food.

"It is tough, very tough. I'm so thankful. I don't know how we would make it without the help," said Alama, who was picking up food on Tuesday. 

The pandemic has created devastating food insecurity for many vulnerable residents — including veterans — of Bergen County.

Marine Corps veteran Dionisio "Dion" Cucuta is helping feed families in need. Dion was running his nonprofit Disabled Combat Veterans Youth Program when he noticed his community needed more help. He didn't think twice and jumped into action.

"I reached out to Table to Table and requested food," Cucuta said. Table to Table is a community-based program that rescues food that would otherwise be wasted and delivers it to organizations feeding people.

Cucuta feeds about 4,000 families every week. But he doesn't do it alone. Volunteers show up early in the morning to fill up bags and unload the boxes of food from the trucks. 

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Before residents show up, nonprofit organizations stop by and load up their trunks with food for their communities. 

Marine Corps veteran Michael McNulty is one of them. He's a member of the Lakeland Detachment of the Marine Corps League. When he heard about the work Dion was doing, he knew he needed to help.

"We load up in this trailer and we bring it over to Oakland and we dispense it," McNulty said. "It's now up 600 to 700, approaching 1,000 meals we are giving out every Tuesday from that location."

To date, Dion and his team of volunteers have distributed 2.7 million meals.