Organization branches into food distribution for needy veterans

Robert Doyle, left, and Don Pearsall have ramped up collection and distribution of food for veterans in need.

Steady proceeds from Don Pearsall’s book "Back on the Front" on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) provides funds for Connections To A New Life, which is now coordinating food for thousands of Brevard County veterans. 

Originally designed to help veterans take care of veterans to come back and thrive in civilian life, the Connections organization has responded to the pandemic by ramping up collecting and distributing food. Boxes provide enough non-perishable items for a family to eat meals for 72 hours.

During the past year, the effort has collected 67,012 pounds of food with more than 309,000 meals provided during the past year and half. Many of the recipients are homeless veterans, but there also are individuals and families struggling during this tough financial time. It has been compounded by the impact from the virus pandemic, he said.

The original mission of Connection to New Life was more directly focused on helping military veterans transition back to civilian life. This came after the completion of their service involving support by certified life coaches and nationally certified, peer support specialists specializing in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The group’s slogan: "Veterans Taking Care of Veterans Through Effective Support."

The group, which still performs all original functions in relation to PTSD and a variety of other help, is partly funded by the proceeds of the sale of now 12,000 copies of Pearsall’s book. He said he is glad to have the book be an important part of the financial backing for the group as it branches out to food distribution as a way to respond to the greatest need. This includes extending beyond Brevard County, he said.

 "It’s turned out great. It’s taken on a life of its own,’’ he said. Added Deputy Director Robert Doyle, "It’s grown into a very big project."

A food box distribution for veterans will be held in conjunction with a 1 p.m. Oct. 31 Halloween event for children at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center at 400 S. Sykes Creek Parkway. on Merritt Island, where food donations also are accepted daily.

For more information, call 321-313-2444 or go to