DAVENPORT - One can at a time, Sandy Van Atta is helping veterans.
"We opened this in honor of our father, who was a World War II veteran," she recalled recently.
Sandy and her sister Lola opened the Quad City Veterans Outreach Center in 2016. After outgrowing their space, they moved to a storefront location at 2720 W. Locust Street in Davenport. Phone: (563) 529-4782.
"We were really surprised by the need," she continued. "The need is mainly your next door neighbor."
The Center offers a food pantry and much more.
"This side over here is where we keep our non-perishable items," she said.
It's an all-volunteer operation. Businesses and individuals also pitch in with donations.
"This is new stuff coming in," she gestured.
There's clothing, household items, even a walk-in barber shop. These days, the Center serves more than 600 clients.
"There's a lot of homeless," said Helen Rider, Davenport. "There's a lot of people that are looking for jobs."
Reasons enough for Helen to nominate the Center for a Pay It Forward award.
"All of that is exactly what it means to be listening, caring and doing what's right, which is our core values at Ascentra Credit Union," said Megan Guldenpfennig. "For that reason, on behalf of Ascentra, I would love to present you with $300, so you may Pay It Forward to them."
While Sandy gets ready for an event at the Center on Saturday, June 16, 2018, Helen enters with a big surprise.
"On behalf of News Eight and Ascentra Credit Union, I would like to Pay It Forward for all the work you do at the Veterans Center," Helen said.
"We'll be able to buy even more food for the pantry giveaway on Saturday," Sandy said.
She's grateful for a kind community that continues to step up for veterans.
"It's our way of saying thank you for your service," Sandy concluded. "If you're needy or not, you're always welcome here."
Can-by-can, Paying It Forward in Davenport.
For more information on the Quad City Veterans Outreach Center, check http://www.qcvetsoutreach.com.