Military families honored with holiday meals

FORT BENNING, GA (WTVM) - Fort Benning soldiers and their families were honored, not with medals or plaques, but with food.

A mountain of bags, full of everything you need to make the perfect holiday meal, filled the Holiday Inn Express Columbus - Fort Benning on Wednesday afternoon.

The bags, given to 400 Fort Benning soldiers and their families, were full of green beans, stuffing, corn, pumpkin pie and even a turkey.

Volunteers helped Angela Dry and her son carry their bags to the car.  Dry is the wife of a soldier and said the holiday meal kit means she can put money towards presents for the kids and food they need on a daily basis to feed the family of six.

Dry said, "You really have to be creative with the income that you have. And, do what you can to make every dollar stretch."

For Sergeant Devora Alston, mother of three, just being home on the holidays this year was enough of a present.  She said the meal kit was icing on the cake.  "It is really going to be good.  I will be able to open presents with them and cook dinner for them.  They missed that last year.  I will be able to share lots of things with them."

Sgt. Alston and all of the soldiers gave a big thank you to Ken Ruff.  Ruff, Vice President of National Accounts for Beam Global Spirits and Wine, started the "Holiday Meals for Military Families" program three years. "I was in a grocery store behind a military family and they got to the register and they could not afford their meal," he explained.  Ruff paid for the family's groceries and automatically made a phone call.  "Holiday Meals for Military Families" began and Ruff says families like the Alston's and Dry's are why it will continue!

2,000 meals will be donated to families at six military bases across the United States this year.

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