SEBASTIAN – This weekend wrapped up a gun and knife show at the Sebastian American Legion Post 189, which served as a fund-raiser for the organization that prides itself on helping more than veterans.
“People are starting to feel the pinch right now,” 2nd Vice Commander Joseph Scarpa said of the one-two punch of the economy and gas prices. The three-day show didn’t have the turnout organizers had hoped for – in terms of vendors and visitors.
Next month, the post will hand out three or four scholarships to worthy Sebastian River High School students – the number of scholarships depends on the income the American Legion Post 189 took in from the show. That amount wasn’t immediately known.
“It’s been hard for us this year,” Scarpa said of the show. “We need money to keep the post going.”
Along with providing assistance to veterans of World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf, Grenada and others, the American Legion Post 189 opens its doors once a week to provide affordable dinners for the elderly.
Scarpa said their post is a place where seniors can come, get a $6 dinner and not feel rushed. They can sit and take their time and mingle with other seniors and members of the post.
“We try to assist them as best we can,” Scarpa said, adding that between 50 and 100 seniors come out for dinner each week.
The gun and knife show, which also included military memorabilia, was one of four such shows the post puts on each year, and has been for the last three or four years, according to Scarpa. He added that other shows elsewhere in the region have also seen a drop in attendance.
This go-round, the post had about 2-dozen vendors, which is on the lower end of the number the post could have had if not for the economy, according to Scarpa.
Fund-raisers such as the shows and dinners help the American Legion Post 189 support and sponsor various groups including Cub, Boy, Adventure and Sea Scouts along with the Naval Junior ROTC at Sebastian River High School.
“We like working for the community,” Scarpa said.
The American Legion Post 189 also invites the community in on the second Saturday of the month for a regular flea market and the Women’s Auxiliary holds bingo on Sundays.
“This place is hopping,” Scarpa said, adding that the public is also invited to partake in line dancing every Wednesday and on the second Thursday of each month.
It’s through events such as those the post hosts that help keep funds coming in, which the group then parcels out, back into the community.
The American Legion Post 189 is also seeking new members. Those who have served or are currently serving in the U.S. Armed Forces may qualify for membership. Anyone interested in joining is encouraged to contact the post by calling (772) 589-8710 or visiting the post, located at 807 Louisiana Ave., Sebastian.