Hundreds of Philadelphia veterans receive food through local partnership

Nearly 400 bags and $10,000 worth of gift cards were given to veterans and those in need.
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Hundreds of veterans and those in need around the Philadelphia region were given the opportunity to receive free food through a partnership between the "Wild Bill" Guarnere Memorial Fund and Giant.

With each bag of food, came a little more relief for veterans and those who need help with groceries.

"Non-perishable food and then a $25 gift card to Giant," said Debi Rafferty, granddaughter of William "Wild Bill" Guarnere and president of the memorial fund in his name.

Nearly 400 bags and $10,000 worth of gift cards were made possible through the partnership.

"I really do appreciate it. It's nice that veterans are being recognized," said Vietnam veteran Jack Crussard.

Veterans and those who might need a little help picked up food Tuesday at the new Giant on S. Columbus Boulevard in South Philadelphia.

The effort is part of the legacy of William "Wild Bill" Guarnere.

"My father was a WWII veteran who lost his leg and he was in the Band of Brothers. He didn't have a lot of money, but what he had, he'd give away anyway," said Gene Guarnere.

Rafferty added, "Since my grandfather came back from the war, he helped Veterans. He always donated to veterans funds and children's causes."

Rafferty proudly held a photo of her grandfather, which showed him standing with Frank

John Hughes, the actor who portrayed him in the HBO series Band of Brothers.

Guarnere's family said he donated throughout his life until his passing in 2014.

A statue of the South Philadelphia native was later added in his honor at 2nd and Reed Street.

The family is hoping others will follow his lead and help the community whenever possible.

"I think maybe if people pass it on, people are generous, and then those people get generous. Just pass on the trend," Rafferty said.

Rafferty said leftover items will be donated to Broad Street Ministries and that the remaining gift cards will also be given to those in need.
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