“Many World War II veterans don’t go to senior centers and we thought it would be an opportunity for them to get together and socialize and reconnect with other veterans,” Dolan said.
The Veteran’s Legacy Initiative has held monthly breakfasts at The Hollow Cafe in Amesbury for several months. The program started in March and attracted 48 veterans to the first breakfast. The number has risen to as many as 70 veterans in recent meetings. The program has become so popular that it has outgrown The Hollow Cafe and will next meet for lunch at The Hungry Traveler in Salisbury in November.
The meals are meant to be casual, with not much structure so the veterans are able to mingle among themselves. The group serves veterans from Amesbury, Newburyport, Salisbury and Merrimac, but welcomes all World War II veterans. At a recent meeting, a man who was in the British Army who had never been invited to any event with U.S. veterans dropped in. He brought a scrapbook to share his experiences and was very popular among the other veterans.
Dolan said she hopes other cities and towns in the region will notice the success of the program and look to set up their own gatherings for World War II veterans.
“We hope other communities will see what we’re doing and consider doing the same type of thing where they get people together socially,” she said.