New England Free Jacks Honored by Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Tackling Food Insecurity Among Veterans
The MLR Champions work with Rose’s Bounty Food Pantry to deliver meals to disabled Veterans and those transitioning from homelessness throughout the MLR season
West Roxbury, MA (December 8, 2023) – The New England Free Jacks, 2023 Major League Rugby champions, received a special visit today from Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, in recognition of their impactful partnership with Rose’s Bounty Food Pantry to combat food insecurity among Veterans in the Boston area.
Secretary McDonough met with Free Jacks player Andrew Quattrin, who spearheaded the initiative on behalf of the team along with teammate Ben Lesage, as well as CEO, Alex Magleby, and Rugby General Manager, Tom Kindley.
“Military personnel and families sacrifice so much,” said Quattrin, Free Jacks hooker. “Playing at Veterans Memorial Stadium is a privilege, and it’s vital that we give back to those who have sacrificed for us.”
This visit underscores the growing national awareness of the Free Jacks’ commitment to serving their community beyond the rugby pitch.
Inspired by William Delaney, a VA social worker and Marine Veteran, the Free Jacks have been dedicating their time to packing and delivering food to Veterans facing transportation challenges or other barriers to accessing essential groceries. Delaney recognized the team’s dedication to giving back and connected them with Rose’s Bounty, a vital resource for the community.
“Having ten rugby players packing food and loading it up is a sight to behold,” said Delaney. “And the fact that they take time to deliver between practices and before matches speaks volumes about their commitment.”
These deliveries transcend mere groceries; they represent moments of connection and joy for Veterans who often feel isolated. Boston has a large population of Veteran rugby fans, and meeting the players is a special treat. One Veteran remarked on the kindness of a player who, despite his imposing size, left a lasting impression with his gentle spirit.
The Free Jacks’ dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. Delaney nominated the team for a local Health Care for Homeless Veterans award for community partnership, and they were rightfully honored for their efforts, regionally, and then most recently at the national level by Secretary McDonough. Both Rose’s Bounty and the Free Jacks hope to expand their partnership and inspire others to join the fight against food insecurity among Veterans.
The Free Jacks’ commitment to serving their community extends far beyond the rugby pitch. Their partnership with Rose’s Bounty exemplifies the power of teamwork, both on and off the field, to make a positive impact on the lives of others.
About the New England Free Jacks
The Free Jacks are greater Boston’s explosive and excitable professional rugby team competing in Major League Rugby (MLR), the premier North American professional competition, representing all the greatness of the six New England states on and off the field. The Free Jacks aim to create unforgettable in-person experiences at their home in Quincy, MA, and deliver dynamic digital content that delights and excites fans as a community-centric, world-class entertainment company. The core brand in the portfolio is The New England Free Jacks, the humble, hard-working, free-spirited MLR Champions. We never forget that life is better together, on and off the pitch. For more information, please visit www.FreeJacks.com.
About Rose’s Bounty Food Pantry
Rose’s Bounty Food Pantry provides essential groceries to community members in need, including Veterans and those transitioning from homelessness. They have been partnering with the VA since 2017, and their reach continues to grow.
Brendan Buckley, Content & Media Manager