Veronan’s Homeless Vets Charity Up For $50K Award


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D'Alessandro puts together his packs with donated supplies and volunteer help, like these Girls Scouts.
D’Alessandro puts together his packs with donated supplies and volunteer help, like that from these Girls Scouts.
Backpacks for Life is a non-profit born of one Verona Marine’s desire to help his fellow veterans. Now, Brett D’Alessandro’s humanitarian efforts could earn Backpacks for Life up to $50,000.

Eagle Rare is a Kentucky-based maker of premium bourbon that recognizes someone for leading a “rare life” every year. This year, D’Alessandro has been nominated for Eagle Rare’s heroism category, but he needs the votes of the entire Verona community to win the distillery’s big prize.

On its website, Eagle Rare has posted the story of nominees in six categories: Courage, Leadership, Survival, Devotion, Character and Heroism. People can read them and vote, and the top five finalists in each category will first be considered for the category prize, which is $5,000 to a charity of the winner’s choice. Then the top 30 nominees that receive the most overall votes will be considered for the $50,000 Grand Prize and the 2016 Eagle Rare Life Award.

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“If Brett receives the most votes, our organization has a chance to win $50,000,” says Backpacks for Life’s Alexa Modero, “which I’m sure you can imagine would help us tremendously as we continue to develop our organization.” Since its creation in 2014, Backpacks for Life has handed out 1,800 backpacks to homeless and low-income veterans in need. The packs are filled with essentials for street life including information on where to get help finding a job and housing. D’Alessandro relies on financial and product donations to fill the packs. (Backpacks for Life is a registered 501(c)3 charity.)

The story of how D’Alessandro founded Backpacks for Life is on Eagle Rare’s website, as well as a link to vote for his story to be the winner. Voting ends January 4, 2017 and you can vote once every 24 hours.

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Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano
Virginia Citrano grew up in Verona. She moved away to write and edit for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition, Institutional Investor, Crain’s New York Business and Since returning to Verona, she has volunteered for school, civic and religious groups, served nine years on the Verona Environmental Commission and is now part of Sustainable Verona. She co-founded MyVeronaNJ in 2009. You can reach Virginia at [email protected]


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