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Donegal American Legion Post 941 helps nonprofits

| Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 2:06 a.m.
Marilyn Forbes | For the Daily Courier
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Stephen Limani (left) accepts a check from Donegal Veterans Association member Kirk Fellabom for the 'Shop with a Cop' program.

Reaching out to help numerous nonprofit organizations, Donegal American Legion Post 941 donated a large portion of its profits to groups that perform different acts of charity to local communities.

“The American Legion and Post 941 recognizes our commitment to youth and the elderly, to those in need, to our troops now serving and the veterans who served, and to the overall health and well-being of the greater community,” said Kirk Fellabom, a member of the Donegal Legion Veterans Association.

Donations made to local nonprofit groups totaled more than $12,000.

“In the spirit of patriotism and Americanism, the members of Post 941 have identified several organizations and programs which we feel reflect our mission and would be worthy recipients of a financial gift,” Fellabom said.

“We recognize that our mission is working with kids, senior citizens, veterans and supporting our community,” said Chuck McDowell, president of the Donegal Legion Veterans Association. He said the group considers many organizations every year. “We look at nonprofits, and we take recommendations.”

Groups helped by the veterans this year included the Westmoreland County Food Bank, Chestnut Ridge Meals on Wheels, Ligonier Valley YMCA, Regional Family YMCA in East Huntingdon, Big Brothers and Sisters of the Laurel Region, Union Mission of Latrobe, Donegal Elementary School for its USO project, American Legion National, “Shop with a Cop,” Cook Township Community Center, Chestnut Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, Saltlick Township VFD, Normalville VFD, Kecksburg VFD, Westmoreland County Veterans Monument and the Mt. Pleasant Senior Center.

“We really appreciate their support,” senior center director Pam Soforic said. “They donated last year to us as well, and we appreciate their generosity.”

A donation was made to the “Shop with a Cop” program, which pairs area youth with local law enforcement officers for a day of shopping.

The “Shop with a Cop” program is designed to help children that police see or deal with, who may be victims of abuse, neglect or part of a situation that places them in need.

“These are kids who are put in certain situations who don't necessarily make the news,” said Trooper Stephen Limani, community service officer with state police. “As a police officer, there really is not a lot that we can do, but if we are able to take them shopping at Christmas, to spend time with them when they can see us in a different light, it really makes us feel good. It's a way for us to give back, and this program is funded with contributions such as this. This is just great and it's really appreciated.”

Donegal American Legion Post 941 sponsors other community events and activities.

“We do what we can to work with the community,” McDowell said. “It's something that we are proud to be able to do.”

Marilyn Forbes is a contributing writer.

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