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Brotherly Love: An Early Thanksgiving Gift

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Dave Huddleston reports…

BRISTOL, Pa. (CBS) – Thanksgiving came early for some people in Bristol. But this isn’t the kind of Thanksgiving that is served to people, it’s a gift to take home, and it’s the 26th year that a Newtown man has done it.

For Army veteran James Carr, it’s not an easy holiday season.

“I’m looking for work,” Carr said.

Carr was a truck driver until eight months ago. But Monday, he got an early present: a hot breakfast, as well as all the fixings for Thanksgiving–everything from turkey to pie, ready for cooking.

“They’re a blessing to all of us veterans,” said Carr.

“They” are Gene Epstein and his wife, Marlene. For 26 years, the Newtown couple has given Thanksgiving to people in need who are on unemployment, disability, or Social Security.

“I’m just trying to help other people get through this,” said Epstein.

You might recognize Gene Epstein from his interview with Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News last year. He’s the millionaire behind the Hire Just One campaign. He put up $250,000 of his own money for charity if businesses hired one more person and kept them on the payroll.

Today, he’s also writing checks to veterans and active military based on their need. Joe Schecter helps him out.

“Some of them are homeless. Some of them have families,” said Schecter. “Sometimes you can just give a guy a little bit of help, he’ll be able to do a lot with it.”

Carr, a Desert Storm veteran, got one of those checks.

“I was in tears. I was ecstatic,” Carr said.

“Many times people ask me, ‘Why do you keep doing it?’ And I say it’s because I’m selfish. I get such a great feeling, and it becomes contagious,” Epstein explains.

Gene Epstein and Joe Schecter’s non-profit organization, Food 4 Troops, also sends care packages to military personnel on the front lines. If you know someone who would like a package, let them know, and they’ll get the package in the mail in 48 hours.

For more info on Advocates 4 Homeless, click here.

For more information on Food 4 Troops, click here.

For more on Hire Just One, click here.

Reported by Dave Huddleston, CBS3

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