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Veterans help soup kitchen open despite the snow

The veterans say they know what it's like to need help, so they were happy to step in to make sure St. Francis of Assisi kitchen still served its daily meal.

SCRANTON, Pa. — In its 44 years, a soup kitchen in Lackawanna County has only closed its doors four times and volunteers were determined to not add a fifth.

But that meant they had to call in some reinforcements, who they found just next door.

Larry Gulla served eight years in the Navy but now he's serving the homeless in Scranton. 

Gulla lives at St. Francis Commons on Penn Avenue in Scranton, its transitional housing for homeless veterans. 

He and some of his roommates answered the call when some volunteers at the neighboring soup kitchen weren't going to be able to make it in the snow.

"Right now there's people out there that need to come in and get warmed up a little bit and get something to eat in their belly. And it makes you feel good to help out," Gulla said.

The veterans say they know what it's like to need help, so they were happy to step in to make sure St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen still served its daily meal.

"If I can pitch in and help make this place even better than what it already is, I'm all in," said Mark Anthony Sandford, US Army veteran. 

Some volunteers who live nearby were able to come in and help cook; it was a much smaller crew than normal and they weren't sure how many people would make the trip in this weather to get a meal. 

But, they wanted to be here just in case.

The soup kitchen has only closed a handful of times in its history; the veterans were happy to keep up that reliable reputation.

"We know about service, we served people in foreign countries, we served people, you know, domestically," added Anthony. "For me, it falls naturally that I service my fellow man. This is what the Army teaches you."

Not a bad way to spend a snow day.

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