"With COVID-19, we're bringing the celebration to them," said Heroes Supporting Heroes CEO Kristi Hilbert.By Kym Gable

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Pittsburgh-area organizations are saying “thank you” to veterans.

So many Veterans Day ceremonies and events have been canceled or scaled back this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. But a group of young and dedicated volunteers is making sure veterans are honored.

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The nonprofit Heroes Supporting Heroes has partnered with the Military Community Support Project to provide care packages to veterans in isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The packages were themed “Pittsburgh Salutes You” and included a two-month effort to identify isolated veterans in the area. The organizers launched a fundraising campaign for people to adopt a veteran to receive a care package.

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Through events and raffles, Heroes Supporting Heros and the Military Community Support Project were able to arrange for the delivery of 500 packages. KDKA was there when some of the gifts were delivered to vets and their families at Chartiers Bend Retirement Resort in Bridgeville.

“Most Veterans Day programs in facilities like this one have been canceled and all the classroom and school programs where we’re usually able to bring residents from facilities like this out into the community to teach our younger generation about their service and in thanking them for their service — so with COVID-19, we’re bringing the celebration to them,” said Heroes Supporting Heroes CEO Kristi Hilbert.

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Several people and organizations donated items, including the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Penguins Foundation, USAA, the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pirates Charities, My Favorite Sweet Shoppe, and several others.

Local elementary students also contributed handmade cards and drawings.

The TRWMG Bridges Kids Club is an organization comprised of over 300 local children who are dedicated to providing support to the local military and veteran community all year. The veterans shared stories and showed photos of their time in the military.

Heroes Supporting Heroes also hosts Operation Santa in December, which will serve over 3,000 local actively serving military family members.

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