WATSONVILLE—Since the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1716 was founded nearly a century ago, it has been a place for vets to find the camaraderie of shared experience, as well as a gathering spot for friends.
More importantly, the Watsonville organization—and others like it nationwide—offer vital services such as financial help, mental health services and Veterans Administration claims.
VFW halls are also crucial parts of their communities, serving as places for blood drives, food distributions and educational programs to the community. Members donate thousands of volunteer hours to these efforts.
To help in those missions, member Edgar Garcia has created a weekend outdoor market that he hopes will raise money for veterans’ services, which have become all the more important as increasing numbers commit suicide.
“My motivation is to reduce the number of veterans that commit suicide,” he said. “My idea for the market is to provide income for us to do different events for them.”
The Watsonville Planning Commission on Aug. 2 unanimously approved the proposal.
According to Planner Ivan Carmona, the market in the VFW’s parking lot at 1960 Freedom Blvd. would feature food trucks and booths, as well as product vendors. It will run Friday-Sunday from 12-7pm.
It would not occur when there are private events such as quinceañeras and parties, Carmona said.
Under the rules set by the City of Watsonville, no more than 20 vendors will be allowed at the market, and no alcohol may be served. Live music must receive City approval.