Hire Our Heroes -
Job Openings

AVN-FAP Food Locator

American Veteran Newspaper
Not affiliated with the VA or any government agency. Your support is very appeciated.
What's New  Latest News

American Veteran Newspaper is duly registered with the State of Florida Division of Consumer Services.

A copy of the registration and financial information about AVN may be obtained from the Division of Consumer Services by calling Toll-Free:

Registration does not imply endorsement, appoval, or recommendation by the State of Florida. Our registration number is: C H - 8 7 2 5.

News Archives

Our Partners

Miami, FL - Jungle Island honoring our American Veterans for Veteran's Day 2012. The American Veteran Newspaper Food Assistance Program was the recipient agency of a massive food drive for Veteran's Day 2012. All foods were used to provide services for our local homeless American Veterans. The AVNFAP was truly honored to see such outreach from the community. Pictured are Stephen P. Smith, Executive Director, American Veteran Newspaper Food Assistance Program, and Leo Sarmiento, Director of Marketing at Jungle Island.

Miami, FL - Stephen P. Smith, Executive Director, American Veteran Newspaper Food Assistance Program with our partners at the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians.

Feds Feeding Families

MIAMI, FL - Annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive which gives Federal employees the opportunity to donate non-perishable food items to help stock local food banks. Last year, over 5 million pounds of food was collected government-wide to assist families in need!

Miami, FL - Feds Feeding Families 2012. The American Veteran Food Assistance Program was the recipient agency from the department of Veterans Affairs, Miami-Dade. Pictured Stephen P. Smith of the AVNFAP, Paul M. Russo, Director of the Miami VA Healthcare System, and Barbara "Bobbie" A. Ibarra, Executive Director of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, Inc.

Miami, FL - Feds Feeding Families 2012. Stephen P. Smith of the AVNFAP, Paul M. Russo, Director of the Miami VA Healthcare System, and Barbara "Bobbie" A. Ibarra, Executive Director of the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, Inc.

Miami, FL - VA employees donating food to the American Veterans Food Assistance Program during Feds Feeding Families 2012

More information is available at http://vaww.va.gov/ohrm/FedsFeedFamilies.

Miami VA partners with American Veteran Newspaper Inc. Food Assistance Program to feed Veterans

MIAMI, FL - Each summer, food banks experience shortages of food to provide to hungry families. Recognizing this need, the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) conducts an annual Feds Feed Families Food Drive which gives Federal employees the opportunity to donate non-perishable food items to help stock local food banks. Last year, over 5 million pounds of food was collected government-wide to assist families in need!

The campaign which began June 1st will run until August 31st, 2012. The Miami VA Healthcare System is participating in this campaign to assist the Department of Veterans Affairs goal of collecting at least 230,000 pounds of non-perishable goods. All donations are greatly appreciated. Federal employees nationwide are stepping up to meet this challenge.

The Miami VAHS has partnered with American Veteran Newspaper Inc. Food Assistance Program as part of the Feds Feed Families Food Drive. The American Veteran Newspaper Inc. Food Assistance Program is a non-profit corporation that was created to serve the Veterans. A local food bank that provides and ensures that Veterans and their families in need of food do not go hungry.

For more information, please contact our Local Champions, Stephen P. Smith Executive Director American Veteran Food Assistance Program at 305-867-6060 WWW.AVFAP.org or Richard Melendez at extension 6356 or via email at richard.melendez@va.gov. The local champion can provide you with the location of collection sites.

Please help us support this worthy endeavor. Thank you for your support and participation in this year's campaign. With your help, local food banks can ensure that families in your area in need of food do not go hungry. We hope you'll join us!

More information is available at http://vaww.va.gov/ohrm/FedsFeedFamilies.

Food Pantry 2012:

The American Veteran Food Assistance Program is working closely with the Department of Veteran's Affairs in order to establish new food pantry for our veterans. We are excited about this new partnership and will keep updating as we know more.

Stand Down 2011:

The American Veteran Food Assistance Program participated in the 2011 Stand Down held at the Miami Dade VA Medical Center for the benefit of our American Veterans. Some of the services providers were; South Florida Work Force, Miami Coalition for the Homeless, Volunteers of America, VA Employment Services, Better Way of Miami, Carrfour Supportive Housing, Social Security Administration, and many more.

Mr. Stephen P. Smith Executive Director American Veteran Newspaper, Inc Food Assistance Program. Mr. Smith was the first to be there for the opening of the Stand Down 2011 at the Miami Dade VA Medical Center. The American Veteran Food Assistance Program and AMVETS were the official agencies to provide food and groceries to our Homeless American Veterans.

VA staff members are preparing Homeless Veterans for services that are available to them.

Our homeless American Veterans are receiving needed individual services from the local federal, state and non profit organizations in our community. After the Veterans have applied for housing or other services, they are given an I.D. badge so they can receive food downstairs from the American Veteran Food Assistance Program and The AMVETS of Florida.

American Veteran Newspaper and AMVETS of Florida preparing to distribute foods to our Homeless America Veterans.

American Veterans signing in to receive food and supplies.

More American Veterans receiving food and supplies at the Stand Down 2011.

Photo showing an example of what the food distribution looks like. The American Veteran Food Assistance Program and AMVETS of Florida serviced over 168 homeless veterans at the Stand Down 2011.

August 2011:

Stephen P. Smith, Executive Director of the American Veteran Food Assistance Program receiving the Outstanding Service Award from Ms. Cherry Smart, LCSW. Ms. Smart is the Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Coordinator. The Department of Veterans Affairs deals with over 280 Service Providers in Dade County. The American Veteran Food Assistance Program was 1 out of 6 organizations that received this award.

July 2011:

Unknown helper from the VA and Mr. Alex Noguera, Case Manager from the Department of Veterans Affairs Miami, FL. The American Veteran Food Assistance Program loads the VA vans up with food every 2 weeks. This process helps our American Veterans that are in transitional housing. Some of the Veterans that are helped receive only $ 19.00 a month to live on.

May 2011:

Ms. Donna Hedgepeth, CAS, Case Manager for the Keystone Halls, Inc., and Mr. Stephen P. Smith Executive Director American Veteran Food Assistance Program. The Keystone Halls is another Veterans transitional housing program the American Veteran Food Assistance Program assists in feeding our American Veterans.

December 2010:

Mr. Michael Hajnrizeder, Department of Veterans Affairs for the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans. He is presenting an Outstanding service award to Mr. Stephen P. Smith the Executive Director of the American Veteran Food Assistance Program. The VA for the year 2010 only issued 1 Outstanding Service award. It was given to the American Veteran Food Assistance Program. Photo taken at the AVFAP Headquarters.

November 2010:

Lt. to Rt. Ms. Cherry Smart LCSW Department of Veterans Affairs, Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Coordinator, Mr. Michael Hajnrizeder VA assistant, Mr. Sky Lukas coordinator C&P Laboratories, Mr. Stephen P. Smith Executive Director American Veteran Food Assistance Program and Mr. Christopher Hawley President C & P Laboratories. They all were assisting in loading the VA van with food to help our American Veterans.

2010 in review:

Mr. Stephen P. Smith Executive Director of the American Veteran Food Assistance Program and Ms. Megan Noicely-Moulton MSW,RCSWI Social Service Coordinator for TheVeterans Support.org. Mr. Smith is assisting in the loading of food to assist there organization in feeding more of our American Veterans.

Mr. Giacomo J. Coschignano (Jack) Senior Social Worker Department of Veteran Affairs and Mr. Stephen P. Smith Executive Director American Veteran Food Assistance Program both loading the VA van with food. This food goes to Veterans Transitional Housing programs in Miami Dade County.

Mr. Stephen P. Smith Executive Director American Veteran Food Assistance Program and Gina Queen, MSW,LSW, CMHP Coordinator Veterans Health Care for Homeless Veterans Programs Department of Veterans Affairs. Ms. Queen is receiving food for the homeless American Veterans that she assists.

The Veterans New Life Haven receiving food from the American Veteran Food Assistance Program. The AVFAP assists many other Veteran organizations in Miami Dade County with food and supplies for our Veterans.

Stand Down 2010:

The American Veteran Food Assistance Program participated in the 2010 Stand Down held at the Broward County Armory for the benefit of our American Veterans.

The Stand Down 2010 took place at the Broward County Armory. The Homeless Veterans are beginning to line up for the services offered.

Stand Down 2010 Broward County Armory. "New Casualties of War" The man with his child center of picture is a double amputee. He is participating in the Stand Down 2010. It is the only time that there is a full spectrum of service providers to assist him in all his needs.

Homeless American Veteran entering the Armory for the Stand Down 2010.

The early morning doors have just opened to assist our Homeless America Veterans. Most of the Veterans are given a duffel bag to carry the needed items.

Veterans, both men and women, eating and discussing their concerns with Case Managers, Social Workers, Doctors and many others.

Stand Downs always give our Veterans a free hair cut.

Ms. Gina Queen, MSW,LSW, CMHP Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program, Department of Veterans Affairs assisting a Veterans at the 2010 Stand Down.

The American Veterans in this photo are eating lunch. There are over 270 men, women and children attending this Stand Down.

Early morning set-up of the Medical Services and other screening to assist our American Veterans.

The American Veteran Food Assistance Program and The AMVETS are preparing to distribute food, clothes, toiletries and other needed items to our Homeless American Veterans.

Homeless Veterans receiving needed items at the Stand Down 2010.

Homeless American Veterans leaving the Stand Down 2010.

November, 2008:

Mrs. Pola Castellanos, BS, Senior Care Coordinator for the Healthy Start Program hand delivers support letter to the Executive Director of the American Veteran Food Asistance Program Stephen P. Smith.

May 25, 2008:

Food Crisis Hits U.S.
Charities Forced To Do More With Less

      Miami Beach, FL - Ordinary Americans aren't the only ones being punished by tough economic times. Charities say they need help too. Charitable groups that help the poor--food banks, pantries, soup kitchens, thrift stores, shelters--say the slumping economy is eroding their ability to help the communities' needy. They report declining donations and a huge surge in people seeking help.

      Stephen P. Smith, the Executive Director of the American Veteran Food Assistance Program, says he's experienced several recessions but never seen so many working people visit food pantries. Mr. Smith's charity donates food to over 7000 families and individuals in Miami-Dade County every year. "This is new for us," Mr. Smith said. "People are giving up buying groceries so that they can pay rent and put gas in the car. The 28 local referral agencies that refer to us are pushing the agency over the limit. It's difficult to keep the pace."

      National charities like Goodwill Industries International, Inc. and The Salvation Army give the same grim assessment - donations are down, needs are up. Charities blame their struggles on a brutal convergence of factors: rising food and fuel prices, the foreclosure crisis, and a decline in federal donations to food pantries. The decrease in donations is coming at the same time food prices are increasing. Charities are trying to give more, though with less. Donations of canned goods are down 35 percent from last year, while dairy and frozen meat donations are down by 26 percent. The price of macaroni and cheese, for example, increased by 44 percent from last year's price. "It's been the worst case of food inflation in 17 years," Mr. Smith says.

      The Economic Cost of Domestic Hunger just for the state of Florida in 2005 was $4.5 billions dollars. Across the U.S. more than 80% of children who depend on federal food programs for free and reduced-price lunches during the school year go without lunches during the summer - that's 12.2 million children.

      In South Florida 295,000 children are living in poverty. Miami ranks 3rd among large cities in the U.S. with 35% of the population living in poverty. We have 42% of the children in the City of Miami living in homes with incomes below the poverty level. 59.8% of Miami-Dade County public school children were eligible for free or reduced cost lunches.

      Food Stamp rolls rise as crisis hits home. In the United States, Costco and Sam's Club are rationing rice while food stamp use nears record numbers. It's clear that the worldwide spike in food prices is not just a problem for the developing world.

April, 2008:

Mr. Stephen P. Smith, Executive Director American Veteran Food Assistance program with Ruth Shack president of the Dade Community Foundation. The reception was to honor funds to the American Veteran Food Assistance Program from the Dade Community Foundation.

Judith Gatti - Executive Director Daily Bread Food Bank with Richard Days, volunteer for the American Veteran Food Assistance program. Mr. Days donating a floor pallet jack from the American Veteran Food Assistance Program to the Daily Bread Food Bank. Mr. Days was the first African-American police officer in Miami Beach.

March, 2008:

Low income IRS Fact Sheet. Click here for a pdf version.

December, 2007:

In Memoriam

John Ruddy
1936 - 2007

Volunteer Driver for American Veteran Food Assistance Program

December, 2007:

Holidays 2007

The AVN Food Assistance Program keeping the promise to those in need and making a difference during the holidays in 2007.

Line of clients to be served by the AVN Food Asisstance Program.

Veronica Campbell, Community Involvement Specialist from Biscayne Elementary School of Miami Beach, FL meeting with Executive Director Stephen P. Smith.

Joe McDaniel, Community Action Agency Outreach for Elderly Affairs - Florida City, picking up food for clients.

June 4, 2007:

Hunger Awareness Day 2007

Stephen P. Smith, Executive Director of the American Veteran Food Assistance Program and Ms. Michele Gillen, Chief Investigative Reporter for WFOR-TV CBS Channel 4 News. Ms. Gillian visited the AVN-Food Assistance Program to air a segment on people who have food insecurity issues in our community.

      Miami Beach, FL - On June 5, 2007 communities across the country will participate in Hunger Awareness Day, which recognizes the more than 35 million Americans suffering from hunger or food insecurity.

      Hunger Awareness Day is an opportunity for Americans to show their united support for one of the most solvable social issues in the country - hunger relief. From advocating to raising awareness, volunteering, or sponsoring and participating in an event, everyone can join us in fighting hunger in their communities.

      This six year campaign includes a variety of exciting events happening around the country and many opportunities for you to get involved. For more information please visit www.hungerday.org . To view the CBS Channel 4 news story with the American Veteran Food Assistance Program, click here .

May 15, 2007:

AVN-Food Assistance Program Nominated For Exemplary Dade Partnership School-Wide Award
Dade Partners Make Magic In Our Schools!

Mary Rose, Director of Operations and Stephen P. Smith, Executive Director of the American Veteran Food Assistance Program. The agency received the 2007 Dade Partners Exemplary Award through the Miami-Dade County Public School System.

      Miami Beach, FL - The Dade Partners Exemplary Awards recognize businesses, organizations and individuals who have made outstanding contributions to Miami-Dade County Public Schools through the Dade Partners Program. The exemplary Dade Partners' honorees for 2006-2007 were nominated by their peers. The panel of judges included school system officials, business and community leaders.

      The event took place at the Parrot Jungle Island in Miami Beach, FL on April 12, 2007. Master of Ceremonies was Mr. Craig Stevens. 7NEWS co-anchor.

      Some of the major Awards went to organizations such as; Washington Mutual, Publix Supermarkets, Whirlpool Corporation, South Florida Youth Foundation, Books & Books, Miami Dolphins, H&R Block, Ryder Systems, Starbucks Coffee Company, Merrill Lynch, Bank Atlantic, Florida Power & Light, University of Florida and American Veteran Newspaper-Food Assistance Program.

      One of the integral parts of the agency is that it feeds very low-income families and those who face food insecurity from an array of different schools in Miami-Dade County for over a decade.

      The AVN-Food Assistance Program allows Miami-Dade County schools to send their students to the agency to meet their curriculum of local community volunteer services. The primary volunteer duties range from data entry to distribution of food to the agency's clients.

      The agency is listed through the Children's Trust (211 emergency telephone system) of Dade County for anyone who faces food insecurity issues.

April 11, 2007:


      HUD’s Annual Report on Fair Housing shows that government agencies received 10,328 housing discrimination complaints in fiscal year 2006, a 12% increase from 2005 and the highest number ever. Disability and race were the most common bases for complaints, constituting 40% and 39% respectively. The fastest growing basis of discrimination was retaliation for exercising fair housing rights, with complaints increasing by 28% from 2005.

      The distribution of complaints by issue remained essentially unchanged from 2005. The most frequent was discrimination in terms and conditions (e.g. charging different deposit amounts for tenants of different races) at 58%, followed by refusal to rent at 26%. The fastest growing issue was failure to make reasonable accommodations for disabled individuals, complaints of which increased by 14% from 2005 and 48% from 2003.

      Because HUD has found that only 1% of those who believe they have experienced housing discrimination report it to a government agency, the increase in complaints could be a function of more discrimination, more knowledge of fair housing laws and/or more willingness to report violations. According to a HUD survey, the most common reason for not reporting discrimination is feeling that it is “not worth the effort.”

      In addition, HUD’s research has found that minorities experience housing discrimination in one in five encounters with rental or sales agents, with Hispanic and Native Americans experiencing the highest rates of discrimination (one in four encounters). Disabled individuals suffer even more rampant discrimination – in half of encounters for hearing-impaired individuals using telephone-operator relay to search for rental housing, and in a third of encounters for wheelchair-bound individuals inquiring about housing in person. Such discrimination is rarely blatant, however; HUD detected it by comparing the treatment of matched pairs who differed only on relevant characteristics.

      The report also includes information on HUD’s fair housing enforcement, oversight and outreach efforts. The full report is available here.

April 3, 2007:


      Last week a 17 year old and several 10 year olds were arrested on charges of attacking two homeless men in Florida. What can you do to help combat more attacks against homeless individuals in Florida?

      Support HB 11 and SB 1458, both under consideration in the Florida Legislature. These are bills will enhance penalties on crimes committed against homeless persons due to a bias or prejudice and send a message that homeless people are protected! The bill, which was introduced by Representative Taylor, among others, has passed in several committees. Tuesday the Senate Judiciary Committee passed SB 1458, now the bill is in Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations. HB 11 passed the Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety unanimously and is waiting for a hearing in the Safety and Security Council.

      Florida is one of several states considering legislation to include homeless persons as a protected class, including Maryland and Texas. Other states considering legislation this year are California, Georgia, Massachusetts and Nevada. No state currently includes homeless persons or housing status as a protected class, although some states including Maine and California have adopted legislation allowing stricter penalties or requiring police training for crimes involving homeless persons.

      This bill is needed now more than ever. In 2006 alone, there were 142 attacks again st homeless individuals throughout the US, resulting in 20 deaths – the highest level of violence since NCH began compiling hate crimes statistics in 1999. Since 1999 103 homeless persons have been attacked out of bias in Florida alone. Last year Florida ranked number one in the country in the number of attacks against homeless individuals.

      HB 11 and SB 1458 are the first step toward recognizing and protecting the civil rights of homeless persons under state law. These crimes can only be made public with grassroots action by concerned citizens, decisive action by state legislatures, and by recognizing that a murder of a homeless person should carry the same punishment as a murder to any other person based on their race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability.

      Contact your legislators today and let them know that you support SB 1458 and HB 11! You can find your legislator’s name and contact information here. You can read NCH’s 2006 hate crimes report here.

March 17, 2007:



Visit helpstophunger.org to submit your student nomination for the Sodexho STOP Hunger Award,
recognizing students in the fight against hunger in the United States.

March 13, 2007:


      On February 28, HUD released the first Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, which estimates that roughly 754,000 persons were homeless in January 2005. To put the estimate in context, researchers indicated that 1% of the total population – and 9-10% of those in poverty – experience homelessness in the average 12-month period.

      Estimates of the total homeless population were drawn from all Continuums of Care applications submitted to HUD in 2005 and include 415,000 occupying homeless shelters and an additional 339,000 unsheltered individuals. (Estimates exclude “doubled-up” persons living with family and friends.) Since 1996, shelter for the homeless has increased by 6% to 647,000 beds, masking a significant shift from emergency beds to permanent supportive housing.

      The report also provides a look at the characteristics of the homeless population based on three months of data collected by the Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) operated in 55 localities. HMIS data indicate that 47% of the sheltered homeless population are single men while 34% are members of households with children. The report also concludes that 59% are persons of color, and 25% of the sheltered population are disabled.

      The full report, which also discusses patterns and duration of shelter usage, is available here.

March 5, 2007:


Experience of housing insecurity after five years among sample of TANF Households on Housing Assistance Waiting Lists, 2005 *

  No Voucher (control) Received Voucher Impact Percent
of Voucher
Housing Insecure ** 45% 9% -36% *** -79%
Street/Shelter 13% 3% -9% *** -74%
Doubled Up 31% 10% -22% *** -69%

* For study methodology read here.
** Housing insecure is not having a place of one’s own to stay at some point during the past year or living with others; doubled up is living with friends or relatives at some point during past year.
*** Indicates statistical significance at the 1% level.

Source: Abt Associates (2007). Effects of Housing Vouchers on Welfare Families. Presentation at National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2007 Policy Conference February 26.

January 30, 2007:


The American Veteran Newspaper Food Assistance Program and director Stephen P. Smith was recently recognized by the Department of Veterans Affairs with a Certificate of Appreciation for "a unique contribution to the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program (HHVP) and the Miami VA Healthcare System." We are honored to be recognized and will continue to serve our veterans and those in our community who face food insecurity.

January, 2007:


The American Veteran Newspaper Food Assistance Program began the new year the same way it had ended the previous year, with long lines and many people touched. Crowds gathered outside the offices of the AVN Food Assistance Program like they gather every day, in order to receive some help for their food insecurity. We are proud to serve those in our community who face food insecurity and will make this another year helping to make a difference.

November 9, 2006:


Contact: Dennis Byrne (202) 205-6567

      Washington DC – Following President Bush’s recent proclamation of November 5-11, 2006, as “National Veterans Awareness Week,” Administrator Steven C. Preston of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), issued the following statement:

      “More than 14 percent of businesses in America are owned by veterans, and SBA is proud that we guarantee more than $1 billion annually in loans for veteran-owned businesses,” said Administrator Preston. “As a measure of our gratitude for their service to our country we will also continue our efforts to make sure veteran entrepreneurs have greater access to federal contracting opportunities.”

      “Veteran-owned businesses make significant contributions to the economy and because of their unique technical and leadership skills acquired through military service, they can become successful entrepreneurs. As we commemorate Veteran’s Day, the SBA, along with its own 771 employees who are veterans, salutes the nation’s 25 million veterans, our veteran entrepreneurs, and all the active duty servicemen and servicewomen.”

      The SBA and its Office of Veterans Business Development (OVBD) provides comprehensive assistance, outreach and support to veterans. Each year the SBA assists more than 100,000 veterans, service-disabled veterans and Reserve Component members. Some key programs/services SBA provides include:

Special support through 68 Veterans Business Development Officers (VBDO) nationwide who help veteran entrepreneurs access the full range of SBA programs and partners. For your nearest VBDO, visit: http://www.sba.gov/VETS/reps.html.

Funding for five Veterans Business Outreach Centers that provide outreach, training, counseling, mentoring and directed e-referrals to veterans owning or considering starting a small business. Visit: http://www.sba.gov/VETS/vbop.html.

Planning, e-counseling and lending assistance for self-employed Reserve and National Guard members facing activation or deployment. Visit: http://www.sba.gov/reservists.

Federal goal setting and guidance for veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses seeking contracting opportunities in the federal marketplace.

      For more information about the SBA’s veterans programs, visit: http://www.sba.gov/VETS/.

October 4, 2006:


      From the State of Florida Department of Children and Families - Please be advised that the Office on Homelessness expects to have committed all of the approved funding for families facing housing emergencies by the end of October. In just three months of this budget year, over 6,000 families have applied for this state aid to help pay past due rent or mortgage, or to help with security deposits. As of October 3, the program has assisted 3,213 families, committing $1,245,178 in state aid.

      Based on this demand level, and the prompt processing of the applications by the program staff, it is projected that our spending authority of nearly $1.6 million will be fully obligated by the end of the month. Therefore, the Office seeks your help in spreading the word that:

      1. By October 31, the Office will suspend accepting new applications for assistance.
      2. For those applications in hand when funding is exhausted, the program staff will be working to discuss with the family referrals to local coalitions and programs for help.
      3. The Office will be seeking approval of a budget amendment to increase the amount of funds for direct assistance payments to restart the program for the balance of the budget year.

      The Office cannot project the time frame for action on this budget amendment request, which will require approval by the Legisalture. The Office will keep you informed on this issue, as more definitive information is available.

      Your support in assisting these families is needed. While local resources to help prevent homelessness are also limited, please try to work with these families in need to connect with other agencies that may be able to help.

August 5, 2006:


Back to School Bash

Left to right - Nilda Kaez, Gabrielle (from AVN-FAP), Pastor Shari Cooombs,
John Kohler, Ron Bush. In front - Chris Lamura.

      Miami, FL - On August 5, 2006, the Church “Without Walls Miami” in association with Operation Destiny and with the help of the AVN Food Assistance Program, held Operation Destiny’s Second Annual “Back to School Bash” in Rainbow Village Park. Operation Destiny is a motivational “Nickelodeon” type program presented to hundreds of inner-city youth on a weekly basis. This Back to School Bash was very special because Operation Destiny was able to give out over 400 back packs with units of food (donated by the AVN Food Assistance Program) and school supplies to the needy children and families of Overtown.

July 24, 2006:


Support Letter - Gina Queen (7/24/06)

View all our letters of support .

July 19, 2006:


      Miami Beach, FL - The cardinal rule in expanding to other sectors of enhancement to those in need is "never promise more than you can deliver". County, state, and federal benefits are limited and seldom the magic cure ingredient. However, when utilized in conjunction with medical care and the many services provided by the established private sector care givers, the benefits can become the foundation cornerstone for providing the final lift to move those in need out of the rut.

      The agency is a leader in this arena. To expand the parameters of the American Veteran Food Assistance Program the agency has now created its "JOB OPENINGS". This new service will enable service providers to raise awareness of the needs of their clients, and how to meet those needs. It is provided by the American Veteran Food Assistance Program and its surrounding community service agencies. The guiding principle behind "JOB OPENINGS" is that no single agency can provide the full spectrum of services required to help individuals become productive members of society. It is compiled with hundreds of current job availabilities to all that seek employment locally in the community. It lists the phone number, job position, and contact person. The Job Openings can be accessed by going to the americanveterannewspaper.org website homepage and click the "JOB OPENINGS". The site also has the availability to add additional employment opportunities from any employer visiting the site. The Job Openings is updated every 2 weeks. It works the same as the agencies Food Locator for adding additional information.

      The local Miami VA has been one of the first to use the Job Openings page for our American Veterans. They downloaded the Job Openings, photocopied the pages, and distributed them to the veterans seeking employment. It's great to see this process at work.

      In keeping with our mission statement to provide, assist or facilitate whether directly or indirectly, much needed emergency care to the low-income area and indigent population, our organization is ideally positioned and uniquely qualified to best utilize this new system. The purpose of the "Job Openings" is to keep the pace with the growing demand to provide employment opportunities, emergency food and services for the unemployed poor residents of Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County. The agency provides intervention and support for displaced individuals; serves low-income families, the economically disadvantaged, disabled and the American Veteran to prevent their sinking into homelessness.

July 17, 2006:


      Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the interim final guidelines explaining how states should implement the new Medicaid proof of citizenship requirement. This provision, effective July 1, 2006, was included in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 by Congress and requires Medicaid beneficiaries to provide proof of US citizenship prior to receiving medical care. The preliminary regulation was released in June. This new version is mostly the same as the preliminary regulation but includes some significant clarifications. Most importantly, HHS explains that recipients with a disability and those who are seniors and receive Medicare or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have already met the documentation requirements and this new requirement does not include them. In addition, the regulation directs states to use existing data matches with government agencies to prove citizenship. HHS will be accepting public comments on these guidelines until August 11, 2006.

      It is important to note that even with these federal regulations each state will develop their own rules regarding how Medicaid clients prove their citizenship. Therefore, in addition to providing comments to the federal regulations, providers and advocates should work with their state Medicaid officials to develop proof of citizenship requirements that make accessing Medicaid as easy as possible.

      For more information please contact CMS Public Affairs at (202) 690-6145 or download the pdf.

July 16, 2006:


- The right to immediate enrollment in school, even if lacking paperwork normally required for enrollment.

- The right to attend school in the school of origin (if this is requested by the parent and is in the student's best interest) or in the local attendance area school.

- The right to receive transportation to the school of origin.

- The right to services comparable to those received by housed schoolmates.

- The right to attend school with children not experiencing homelessness; segregation based on a student's status as homeless is prohibited.

- The posting of homeless student's rights in all schools and other places around the community.

For more information, visit: www.serve.org/nche/briefs.php

July 10, 2006:


      Miami Beach, FL - The Wallack Foundation, a subsidiary of Mango's Tropical Café - South Beach received the 2006 Community Awareness Days Recognition Award after unanimous votes. The actual votes came from the agency's Advisory Board, which consists of community leaders in Dade County. The award was presented to Ms. Barbara Buck, Director of Public Relations for the Wallack Foundation.

      Mr. Stephen P. Smith, Executive Director of the American Veteran Food Assistance Program presented the award. Other candidates such as Publix Supermarkets, WPLG (Channel 10), Miccosukee Tribe of Indians, Bacardi USA and others were considered. All which have been advocate supporters of the agency's Food Assistance Program for years. The American Veteran Food Assistance Program receives hundreds of contributions each month. The Wallack Foundation was chosen because of their consistency which fosters stability and growth. In addition, with today's economy it's even more critical and vital than ever. Mr. Smith said it is a privilege to be a part of this great effort. The Wallack Foundation expresses a true concern to the local community, local neighbors and non-profit organizations in "Helping Us To Help Others".

      The revenues have assisted the agency with the over pouring of clients it engages on a daily basis. It has also allowed the agency to have a healthier and prosperous climate to those they serve. The agency feeds all individuals who face food insecurity issues in Miami Beach and Miami Dade County. The agency's focus clientele includes but not limited to; displaced individuals, senior citizens, children from single parent homes and individuals living with HIV and AIDS. The agency feeds, on average 600 families each month.

      Mr. David Wallack, President of the Wallack Foundation and owner of Mango's Tropical Café is being considered as a nominee by the agency, for the United States Small Business Administration Advocate Award for the year 2007.

      The American Veteran Newspaper - Food Assistance Program wishes David Wallack, The Wallack Foundation and their staff continued success in all their endeavors. The agency looks forward to working with the foundation in the future.

Mango's Tropical Cafe

July 7, 2006:


2006 Community Awareness Days Award

Miami Beach, FL - Ms. Barbara Buck, Director of Public Relations of Mango's Tropical Cafe ( view corporate supporters ) , and representative of the Wallack Foundation, receiving the Outstanding Community Awareness Days Award 2006. The award was given by the AVN - Food Assistance Program for the outstanding service of the foundation and Mango's Tropical Cafe.

July 7, 2006:


      Who we are: Carrfour Supportive Housing is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization whose mission is to develop permanent supportive housing and maximize the self-sufficiency of formally homeless adults in Miami-Dade County, Florida. The Housing Assistance Program provides formally homeless couples an affordable place to live and supportive services that encourage independence, residential stability and self-sufficiency. With the companionship and support of each other and the support of a case manager, this project offers couples a chance to get back on their feet and achieve self-sufficiency.

      Where are we? Residents admitted into the program will live in one bedroom apartments throughout Miami-Dade County.

      Who is eligible? This program is designed to provide housing assistance to households that consist of two members. Priority will be given to households that can demonstrate the ability to live harmoniously in this setting and share the responsibilities of maintaining an apartment (as opposed to two individuals that do not know each other).

Each member of the household must:
- Qualify as homeless under U.S. HUD's definition;
- Qualify as having a disability under US HUD's definition;
- Be over 18 years of age;
- Satisfactorily pass a drug test;
- Have the ability to locate and qualify for a rental unit in the community and;
- Have a history indicating commitment to paying rent and other obligations on time.

To apply, each member of the household must complete the attached Occupancy Agreement and fax it to (305) 371-1376. For more information please contact Donna De Nard at (305) 547-1982 or (305)628-8140. Download the application in Microsoft Word or Adobe format.

July 6, 2006:


      The Miami Beach Community Development Coalition (MBCDC) has several apartments available for low income persons living with HIV/AIDS, who are looking to live in Miami Beach. The following are available in South Beach:

Studios, one and two and bedroom apartments equipped with appliances, air-conditioning and washer & dryer on site.

Admissions’ Criteria:

1. At least one member of the household must be:
           a. AIDS diagnosis certified by a physician, and
           b. Disabled, according to Social Security or their primary physician.
2. Total annual household income can not be greater than the following:
Household Size
Income Limit
$ 31,300.00
$ 35,750.00
$ 40,250.00
$ 44,700.00
3. Other information which is considered includes:
           a. Criminal History
           b. Landlord references/Rental History

Contact: Zaily Nepomuceno
Ph: 305-303-8306

June 28, 2006:


Janet Perales, Jobing.com South Florida's Community Relations Manager with American Veteran Newspaper's Executive Director Stephen P. Smith and Mary Rose at the Dade Community Foundation's 2006 Community Grants Breakfast.

Vice Chair of the Dade Community Foundation Board of Governors Keith T. Ward handing American Veteran Newspaper Executive Director Stephen P. Smith a Dade Community Foundation grant.

June 9, 2006:


      Miami Beach, FL - The Miami Dade County Homeless Trust in conjunction with the Providers' Forum, held a training forum for all Homeless Trust funded providers. The forum was held June 7th 2006, at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

      The forum enhanced the service providers to raise awareness of the homeless needs and how to better meet those needs. It was an innovative program designed to enhance the continuum of care for the displaced in our community and its surrounding community service agencies. One of the guiding principles behind the forum is that no single agency can provide the full spectrum of services required to help the displaced become productive members of society.

      A wealth of information was exchanged between all of the constituents. Matters such as substance abuse, employment, VA incentive programs, transitional housing, I.D, low-income housing, permanent housing, the elderly, homeless and the needy were discussed. The presentation was delivered with the exchanging of business cards and specific details of each agency to all attendees.

      Mr. Smith, Executive Director of the AVN-Food Assistance Program said it is great to see people exchanging such vital information that is so desperately needed within the process in our community. Each agency advising the other of what services they each offer. The AVN-Food Assistance Program supplies food to a large majority of clients of most of the service provider attendees. The AVN-Food Assistance Program is one of Dade counties largest distributors of food to those who face food insecurity issues.

      Participating agencies were but not limited to: Citrus Health Network, Inc. City of Miami Homeless Assistance Program, City of Miami Beach Homeless Outreach, Miami-Dade County Department of Human Services, Camillus House, Inc., Catholic Charities of Archdiocese of Miami, Inc., Center of Information & Orientation, Inc., Children's Home Society of Florida Inc., Deaf Services Bureau, Inc., Family Resource Center of South Florida., Community Partnership for the Homeless, Inc., The Salvation Army, Miami Dade SafeSpace, Inc., Miami Rescue Mission, Agape Family Ministries., BayView Center for Mental Health, Better Way of Miami, Inc., Carrfour Supportive Housing., Douglas Gardens, CMHC., Miami-Dade County Department of Human Services, New Horizons Community Mental Health Center., Jewish Community Services of South Florida and the Legal Services of Greater Miami.

May 27, 2006:


      In an effort to relieve the AVN-Food Assistance Program of the over-pouring of clients to its office, and in order to maintain its effectiveness, the agency has developed a new innovated system: the new Emergency Food Locator for Miami-Dade County. It is the first of its kind. It currently offers the 17 referral agencies which are heavily utilizing the AVN-Food Assistance Program services to refer their clients. The outside agencies can now refer their clients to a more convenient source for obtaining food. The Food Locator offers referral agencies other food distribution pantries that are in or near their clients' area. The agency has clients that come from as far away as Florida City or Carol City.

      Mr. Smith, Executive Director of the AVN-Food Assistance Program, said food scarcity is not the problem in our county, "food distribution is." There is not enough real outsourcing or networking in our community. He stated that most agencies will not cooperate with other parallel agencies primarily because of the illusion of interference of who will be getting funded and who will be giving the funding and so on. This is the role that most of the agencies play. They feel it will compromise their objective. We hope this new method will spill over to other service providers to improve the quality of care.

      The Switchboard of Miami uses a similar method for the location of Community Based Service Providers; it is used by those who call the Switchboard that are in need. Their system has a large spectrum of services in the community, but it is independent and not given out freely. The United Way, for example, refers their calls of need to the Switchboard of Miami, in turn they are referred to the proper agency that will fit there particular need. Those who face food insecurity are referred to the AVN-Food Assistance Program.

      The Emergency Food Locator can be used simply by logging on to the American Veteran Newspaper, Inc. website (www.americanveterannewspaper.org) and on the home page just click on "Miami-Dade County Food Locator". The zip codes will appear, and just click the zip code in your area.

      The American Veteran Newspaper, Inc., Food Assistance Program does not endorse or have any affiliation with these agencies. There is no guarantee that any person will receive food. Please call the agency first for service availability. They are simply resources that have been compiled to benefit the community and those who face food insecurity issues.

May 2006:

Memorial Day 2006

April 18, 2006:


by Bob Nichols

      Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter changed Monday that the reason Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi stepped down earlier, was the growing scandal surrounding the use of uranium munitions in the Iraq War.

      Writing in Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter No. 169, Arthur N. Berklau, executive Director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York, stated, "The real reason for Mr. Principi's departure was really never given, however a special report published by eminent scientist Lauren Moret naming depleted uranium as the definitive cause of the "Gulf War Syndrome" has fed a growing scandal about the continued use of uranium munitions by the U.S. Military."

      Berklau continued, "This malady (from uranium munitions), that thousands of our military have suffered and died from, has finally been identified as the cause of this sickness, eliminating the guessing. The terrible truth is now being revealed." He added, "Out of the 580,400 solders who served in GW1 (the first Gulf War), of them 11,000 are now dead! By the year 2000, there were 325,000 on Permanent Medical Disability. This astounding number of "Disabled Vets" means that a decade later, 56% of those soldiers who served have some form of permanent medical problems!" The disability rate for the wars of the last century was 5 percent; it was higher, 10 percent, in Viet Nam.

      "The VA Secretary (Principi) was aware of this fact as far back as 2000," wrote Berklau. "He, and the Bush administration have been hiding these facts, but now, thanks to Moret's report, (it) … is far too big to hide or to cover up!" "Terry Jamison, Public Affairs Specialist, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, Department of Veterans Affairs, at the VA Central Office, recently reported that "Gulf Era Veterans" now on medical disability, since 1991, number 518,739 Veterans," said Berklau.

      "The long-term effects have revealed that DU (uranium oxide) is a virtual death sentence," stated Berklau." Marlon Fulk, a nuclear physical chemist, who retired from the Lawrence Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab, and was involved with the Manhattan Project, interprets the new and rapid malignancies in the soldiers (from the 2003 Iraq War) as "spectacular… and a matter of concern!" When asked if the main purpose of using DU was for "destroying things and killing people", "Fulk was more specific; "I would say it is the perfect weapon for killing lots of people!" Principi could not be reached for comment prior to deadline.

1. Depleted uranium: "Dirty bombs, dirty missiles, dirty bullets; A death sentence here and abroad" by Lauren Moret http;/www.gfbayview.com/081804/Depleteduranium081804.shitml.
2. Veterans for Constitutional Law, 112 Jefferson Ave., Port Jefferson, NY 11777. Arthur N. Bernie, Executive Director, (516) 474-4261, fax (516) 474-1968.
3. Preventive Psychiatry E-Newsletter. Email Garyu Kohls, gkohls@pinternt,com, with "Subscribe" in the subject line. Email Bob Nichols of bobnichols@coxnet.

April 15, 2006:

Compassion Corps

Tommie Zito ministries outreach group Compassion Corps ministered in 3 locations in Miami and Miami Beach on April 15, 2006, bringing food and beverage, provided by American Veteran Food Assistance Program, to more than 200 people, most of them homeless. Below are some pictures.

Compassion Corps     Compassion Corps

Compassion Corps     Compassion Corps     Compassion Corps

March 6, 2006:


      Miami, FL - Metro Dade and Miami Beach once again awoke to chilly weather by our standards. The AVN-Food Assistance Program passed out over 318 blankets to the homeless who had to endure Miami's dip in temperature this past month. The blankets are usually donated to the organization from the private sector and federal government.

      The 2005 demographic figures for the AVN-Food Assistance Program were finalized January 27, 2006. Mr. Smith, Executive Director said the figures are about the same except a high increase of elderly and children. The only major changes seem to be in the ethnic categories. Last year the agency fed over 7000 needy families and displaced individuals.

      In September 2005 the AVN-Food Assistance Program's company van was stolen. This vehicle was used for home deliveries and food pick ups. The agency received a courtesy call from the Miami Beach Police Department late January 2006 stating the van has still not been recovered.

      "Calling All Angels". A documentary that was produced by the Daily Bread Food Bank, which featured the AVN-Food Assistance Program and others, has been released. The DVD expresses the positive results, and needs of the food distribution feeding process for Dade County. The documentary is 6 minutes long and copies can be obtained, upon request by calling Ms. Keytia Amoedo @ 305-633-9861 Ext 214 or the AVN-Food Assistance Program @ 305-867-6060.

      The Dade Community Foundation provided an in-kind donation of two updated Dell computers to the AVN Food Assistance Program to assist the organization in keeping larger and more effective records of the food distribution process.

      The AVN-Food Assistance Program has been visited several times by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Homeless Outreach Program. The AVN-FAP, always donates to the VA-Homeless program. The VA appreciated the opportunity to observe a leading state of the art agency and expert handling of the needy. The VA stated the food, knowledge and community resources that the AVN-FAP share with those in need and others is profound. It has lead the VA to a better understanding to become more effective in ascertaining the needy veterans within their structure.

      Miami Beach, FL- In conjunction with the Tommie Zito Ministries the AVN-Food Assistance Program provided bags of food for the displaced on Miami Beach. There were 26 outreach workers and individuals who participated in this event. It was comprised of students and church members who carried out the mission. The results were very positive. They reached 144 displaced individuals; distributed food to two encampments located at 72nd and 81st Street Miami Beach, and the "Wall" located on 10th Street and Ocean Drive.

      The AVN-Food Assistance Program has enlisted a new caliber of volunteers to the organization. The agency deals with thousands of pounds of food and hundreds of clients each month. The best example said Mr. Smith, Executive Director of the agency, would be Ms. Carmen Munnings. She also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity and other large faith based organizations. She is well seasoned and experienced in food distribution and the in-take of clients.

      On February 20, 2006 Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Title 1 District Advisory Council awarded the American Veteran Newspaper, Inc. Food Assistance Program. The award was presented to the agency for Community Awareness. The award was presented to the agency's Director of Operations, Mary Rose. Ms. Della R. Wilson, District Supervisor for Miami-Dade County Public Schools was made aware of the services the agency provides for the Biscayne Elementary School, Miami Beach, FL.

      A grant award has been given to the American Veteran Newspaper's Food Assistance Program by the Dade Community Foundation. The primary purpose of the funding is to build additional storage space to house additional foods so the organization can take on new referral agencies. Established in 1967, Dade Community Foundation is Greater Miami's permanent philanthropic endowment for enhancing the quality of life of all Miami-Dade County residents. The Foundation provides nonprofit organizations funding support and technical assistance for programs which benefit the community.

December 15, 2005:

View our latest pictures of some of our grateful food assistance program recipients...

View Recent Photos

December 06, 2005:

View our latest letter of appreciation, this one coming from the Tommie Zito Ministries / Zoe Bible Schools...
View Letter of Support

Hurricane Wilma

Copyright (c) American Veteran Newspaper All rights reserved.