Mary McColgan (left) is the president of West Tampa Memorial American Legion Auxiliary Unit 248 and the 15th District president of the American Legion Auxiliary of Florida. She relies heavily on volunteers to help the veterans.

Many local and national nonprofits have taken a hit during the pandemic. Donations are down, monetary donations are low and volunteering is almost obsolete.

Mary McColgan is the president of West Tampa Memorial American Legion Auxiliary Unit 248 and the 15th District president of the American Legion Auxiliary of Florida. She relies heavily on volunteers to help the veterans she and her organizations serve.

“Our program helps veterans who have been put into housing through the V.A.,” McColgan said. “Most of our vets used to be homeless and now they have a place to live. We help them with getting furniture and the items they need to start their home.”

McColgan and her organization have always had difficulties getting volunteers, but with the recent pandemic, she has had more challenges.

“We’ve had multiple requests from veterans who have moved into homes in the Riverview and Brandon areas, needing furniture, cleaning supplies and food,” McColgan said. “Since COVID-19 hit, we have been challenged getting volunteers to help us get these much-needed items and furniture to them.”

McColgan is just one person and she is spread very thin trying to fulfill the requests she is getting from veterans in the Riverview and Brandon areas.

“If anyone is willing to volunteer to help us help these veterans, that would be amazing,” McColgan said. “I’m very flexible when it comes to our volunteers. Some weeks we may only need two to four volunteers, depending on the need, while other weeks we are needing four to eight volunteers to help us.”

Food requests have increased since the pandemic as well. “We are getting multiple calls for food donations from our veterans because other nonprofits who give them food have shut down due to COVID,” McColgan said. “Our food pantry is running low too because we have been trying to fill those requests as well.”

To learn more about West Tampa Memorial American Legion Auxiliary Unit 248, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/West-Tampa-Memorial-American-Legion-Auxiliary-Unit-248.

To learn more about the 15th District of the American Legion Auxiliary of Florida, visit www.facebook.com/American-Legion-Auxiliary-Florida-15th-District.

To volunteer or donate food or cleaning supplies for veterans, contact McColgan at 603-4448.

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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.