The mission of Vouchers for Veterans is to show recognition and gratitude to Veterans living in New Hampshire and Maine primarily by providing them with vouchers to purchase locally grown and prepared food directly from farmers and growers at local farmers markets.
Veterans are the backbone of this great nation. They fought tirelessly protecting our freedoms so that we may remain the “Land of Opportunity”. They put their lives at risk, and on hold, protecting our Country from harm’s way.
We believe that those who sacrifice for others have earned more than gratitude. They deserve support and relief. Our passion is to deliver that support and relief to our Veterans.
Many Veterans return from service changed by their experiences. Some are injured. Others are affected by trauma that makes it difficult for them to reacclimate to civilian life.
Through our partnerships with farmers markets across New Hampshire and Maine, we have given 7,150 nutritious meals to Veterans. At farmers markets, we provide Veterans a safe place to talk with and heal with other Veterans who can uniquely understand them. These bonding times, especially among combat Veterans, help in their healing continuum.
When you support Vouchers for Veterans, you support Veterans who have given of themselves selflessly. You also invigorate sales for local growers at farmers markets, and your money stays in the community.
"Vouchers for Veterans is committed to giving back to Veterans; food, nutrition, and a safe space to gather and talk — as some token of appreciation for all they have done for us."
Vouchers for Veterans began in September of 2016. We were collecting money for Veterans at a local restaurant in a World War II helmet. As we collected donations, we searched for ways to spend the money that would benefit the greatest number of Veterans.
During the spring of 2016, a new farmers market was opening in Rochester New Hampshire. With its arrival, we determined how to apply the money we collected to benefit Veterans. We decided to give them vouchers to buy nutritious food at the Rochester Farmers Market.
We chose the month of September to distribute the vouchers to Veterans for several reasons.
First- September is Hunger Action Month, when people across the globe rally to fight hunger.
Second- The farmers and growers have an abundance of produce as it is harvest time.
Third- The vouchers keep the market invigorated as market sales decline when summer residents return home and children return to school and after school activities.
Fourth- Parking is more readily available.
Fifth- The weather is cooler for shopping.
Our first three Septembers at the Rochester Farmers market were an
incredible success story. We heard from Veterans organizations and farmers markets all over New Hampshire and Maine asking us to expand into their area. We applied for a 501(c)(3) status and received it in the fall of 2018.
In 2019 we launched at three additional farmers markets. Added was the Littleton Farmers Market and the Barnstead Farmers Market in New Hampshire and at the Sanford Farmers Market in Maine. In 2020 we added the Portsmouth and the Dover Farmers Markets. In 2021, we added the Exeter farmers market, and in 2022 we participated in five winter farmers markets during the month of January. With the addition of the Wolfeboro farmers market and Kennebunk, Maine farmers market in in September, we will end the year having completed forty-four farmers markets.
In 2023, Vouchers for Veterans will participate each weekend in a winter farmers market, beginning in January and running through April. This is in addition to nine farmers markets each week in September.
Twenty-six weeks a year, you will find Vouchers for Veterans at participating farmers markets in New Hampshire and Maine. Veterans may go once a week to a participating farmers market of their choice and pick up $20 in vouchers.
With the support of volunteers and donors, we expand to new farmers markets every year. With your help, we'll provide more Veterans with needed food and nutrition. Our goal is to reach every Veteran in New Hampshire and Maine.
Vouchers for Veterans is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We feed Veterans in New Hampshire and Maine by providing them food vouchers that they redeem at local farmers markets.
Veterans receive fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and baked goods from local producers at participating farmers markets. Vouchers for Veterans delivers nutrition and relief to Veterans and direct financial support to farmers and growers in the communities we serve.