Basehor VFW’s future is up in the air
Strapped for funding, the Basehor VFW Post is struggling to keep its building open for its own needs and community events.
The post raised $600 at a fundraiser last Saturday night, enough to pay its bills for April, but beyond that, the fate of the VFW building at 2806 N. 155th St. is up in the air.
It costs the post about $1,800 a month to stay open, which is funded by the members’ Bingo nights, breakfasts and Chuck Wagon food truck profits, Commander Fred Box said.
The post receives $2,500 a year from the city and small donations from groups that use the facility for meetings or parties, but that hasn’t been enough lately, Box said.
Making only a couple of hundred dollars at the breakfasts and Bingo nights, the post is having trouble making ends meet, Quartermaster Dan Stueckemann said.
“We’re losing ground every month,” he said.
Members are planning to host some larger fundraisers in the upcoming months, such as 5K runs and country music dinners, Box said, but without community support, the post may have to close soon.
“If we don’t have the building, the only way we have to make money is the Chuck Wagon,” Stueckemann said.
The VFW uses a large portion of is funds to support community activities, Box said. The post awards annual scholarships for local students, supports veterans programs, offers a free Thanksgiving dinner to seniors, hosts meetings for community organizations, visits schools to teach students about service and provides many other activities.
Lela Wiley, whose husband Bob Wiley started the post, said she’ll do anything she can to help. Already a large contributor and supporter, she said she’d be heartbroken to see them lose the building.
“That building is not only used for the VFW,” she said. “It’s an asset to the community.”
Many community organizations hold meetings at the building, and it’s also a place for residents to hold parties, family reunions and other celebrations, she added.
“This building is a community center for a lot of organizations,” Box said.
More than that, he said, it’s a headquarters of the post’s service work to honor local veterans. There are about 75 members of the post who see it as a center of support and connection to the community at large.
“I’m going to do everything I can to keep this building open, because our veterans deserve it,” Box said.
There may also be some misconceptions about the VFW hall, Box said. The hall is smoke- and alcohol-free, and the general public and their families are invited and encouraged to attend the post’s breakfasts, Bingo nights and other activities at the hall.
Box said he hopes residents will come out to more VFW events to support the post and the community’s veterans so members can keep the building for the community.
The post will also be open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 1-3 to accept tax-deductable donations.