The Kings Family Restaurant donated over $49 thousand to local veterans at the Pittsburgh Zoo.
President of Kings Family Restaurant, Chris Whalen presented the check to the Executive Director of the Veterans Leadership Program Al Mercer. Alongside Mercer were veteran Sean Andersen and his son Jamal. Following the check presentation was a cookout buffet and stuffed animals were given to children from the zoo.
Mercer said that the Kings Family Restaurant has had four check presentations with this being the second presentation at the zoo. They have given over $137 thousand dollars to the Veterans Leadership Group. Kings is an avid supporter of the more than 17 thousand veterans in the Western Pennsylvania area. The Veterans Leadership Program Director, Michele Margittai said several fundraisers are used to collect the money in restaurants. These include: selling of American flags, selling mints, and “Double Fudgin’ Trouble Sundaes”.
All of the money collected goes directly to the organization. Whalen said that Kings avoids the “red tape” that many other groups go through when donating money. Whalen stated the veterans gave everything; all we are doing is giving money. The money is used to directly benefit the essential, housing, employment, and other vital supportive services to veterans in the area said Mercer. He continued by expressing veterans from wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Korea, and Vietnam are all suffering with homelessness and unemployment. The partnership with Kings has been very supportive of veterans in this area helping two thousand veterans this year. Magittai said this is a 30 percent increase from last year.
Veterans were in attendance for the presentation as well. Veteran Sean Andersen said this program has saved his life. “I would be homeless…unless for this program,” said Andersen. With stories such as Andersen’s, Mercer hopes to continue the partnership with Kings Family Restaurants.