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Volunteer, Jewish War Veterans organize and deliver Christmas morning gift-bags for V.A. Hospital patients, despite pandemic limitations

The hallways of Veterans Administration (V.A.) Hospitals on the morning of Christmas are typically bereft of people - except for essential staff. Christmas Day can be a lonely time for aging, hospitalized veterans. While most families find gifts under their trees for all to open, most hospitalized see none.

Commanders Sam Yudin (left) and Mat Millen (center) coordinate
volunteers bringing the gift bags to the Vets' health facilities

This Christmas, the 
Jewish War Veterans, the oldest (founded in 1896) veterans' organization in America, continued their 76-year tradition of preparing and delivering a "Gift for a Yank" to hospitalized V.A. patients in cities around the country. Hollywood star, Eddie Cantor originatedhis non-sectarian project in 1946 for World War II veterans in Los Angeles. L.A.-area Jewish War Veterans (L.A. and Long Beach) are among those around the country who keep it going. 

The commander of the JWV's Allan Katz Post #118 in Santa Monica, Matthew Millen, and his colleague, Sam Yudin of the Tibor Rubin Post #786 in Long Beach procured various gift items which are useful for the hospitalized veterans. This year, they (with volunteers they coordinate) stuffed gifts into 1200 bags. While they typically also coordinate volunteers to personally deliver the gift bags to the patients in their rooms, this year, like in 2020 and '21, pandemic concerns restricted  outside volunteers from the patient rooms, so the bags are distributed by hospital (and rehab facility) employees a
round the V.A. hospital campuses.  In 2018, when volunteers did it, Mat Millen explained the procedure to us: 

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