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Serving Those Who Served Us

This Local Organization is Dedicated to Honoring and Supporting Active Service Members, Veterans and Widows

Article by Emily Shea

Photography by Serving Area Military

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

Not only does November mark the beginning of the season of giving, but it is also Veterans Awareness Month — a time to honor and celebrate those who have served our country. But for one local organization, every month is about honoring and celebrating our veterans. Serving Area Military and Veterans, located in Massillon, was founded in March 2015 to assist local active service members, veterans and widows through several key programs like their Veterans' Resource Fair, commissary, Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, yoga classes and Veterans Run.  

Most recently, SAM held its annual Veterans' Resource Fair. Like all of SAM's programs, the fair was completely run by volunteers that donated their time to serve those who served us. The Veterans' Resource Fair was a 2-day event that took place at the MAPS Air Museum and featured countless volunteers from the community that offered discussions are PTSD awareness, VA healthcare enrollment, VA home loans, pension benefits and caregiver assistance.

SAM's commissary program is specifically supported by the organization's SAM Center — a facility that is provided by the American Legion Post 221 on a free lease and is located at 413 Lincoln Way E., Massillon. On every first and third Friday of the month, SAM opens the center's commissary with non-perishable food items, meat, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, paper products and baby/toddler necessities. Three-day emergency food kits and warming bags with gloves, hats, blankets, hand-warmers and tea are also available at the commissary. 

The SAM Center also hosts the organization's applied suicide intervention skills training (ASIST) for anyone in the greater Northeast Ohio community. Through the program, individuals learn from expert trainers about how to prevent potential veteran suicides within the community and beyond. 

In addition to the programs above, SAM publishes a quarterly newsletter called Serving Those Who Served. The free online and print publication is dedicated to sharing resources with veterans and the greater community, as well as highlighting local stories.

The Fall 2022 issue of Serving Those Who Served featured a story about veteran Ron Zaleski, who served in the Marine Corps during the era of Vietnam. He was featured for his completely barefoot hike on the Appalachian Trail — that's over 2,200 miles without shoes! On his journey, Ron learned self-forgiveness, empathy, and found a purpose greater than himself. 

Sign up to receive Serving Those Who Served in your mailbox, learn about how you can contribute, or read the current issue, by visiting and clicking the "Serving Those Who Served" button in the top left.

When it comes to volunteering or donating to SAM, there are many ways to get involved. To volunteer, prospective individuals can begin by filling out a volunteer application form. From there, they can volunteer with SAM's many amazing programs — from the commissary to the annual Veterans' Resource Fair. 

There are also multiple ways to donate to SAM. While cash donations are always much appreciated, SAM also accepts non-perishable food items, hygiene products and paper products. 

For information about volunteering and donating to SAM, visit If you are an active member of the military, veteran or widow, also visit SAM online to learn about how they can support you.