Cedar Rapids, IA — Shooting pool, playing cards, and grabbing a bite might sound like a typical Friday night, but one organization is providing just that every day for veterans in the Cedar Rapids community.
Freedom Foundation Cedar Rapids has a new location on Center Point Road, and patrons and organizers alike are enjoying the new space.
"To see the smiles on their faces the last few weeks - everyone's happy and cheerful," said Lexi Coberly, the Executive Director of Freedom Foundation Cedar Rapids. "That means a lot to me because that's why it's worth it, with all the hard work I've done with my board."
Coberly said improvement over the previous building includes a 25% larger pantry, a larger kitchen, and newer equipment. The building provides much more space for veterans to use, and significantly better parking.
"Due to a grant, we were able to purchase the building, which has been a huge relief to the vets," said Coberly. "Now they know we’re not going anywhere."
The space largely is for veterans to come and socialize with other veterans, and even the smallest gestures go a long way.
"To be able to play pool with each other and just be able to relax is good for their physical, mental, and emotional health," she said. "It's a chance for vets to talk to other vets in a way most people, family or friends, can't relate."
The building also offers a food pantry with nonperishable foods and household goods for veterans, and a free lunch on Thursdays cooked by Freedom Foundation volunteers.
Colberly urges anyone interested to volunteer to visit Freedom Foundation's website to explore volunteer opportunities.
"We've got many opportunities from playing pool and shooting the breeze, to helping in the kitchen or pantry. "There’s a variety of opportunities."
Freedom Foundation's new location is at 4001 Center Point Road NE in Cedar Rapids.