Jan Larsen, who is senior vice commander of American Legion Post 176 in Monroe, and fellow veteran Lou Marino sat at a table beneath the overhang by an entrance to Stop & Shop Supermarket, which shaded them from the strong Saturday afternoon sunshine. They smiled while greeting shoppers, accepted donations for charitable causes and handed out chocolate bars — some with almonds, crispy wafers and caramel.
"We're doing well," Larsen said. "People are donating and not taking chocolate."
The annual candy fundraiser is the only one for Post 176, according to Marino, this year's chairman.
American Legion Post 176 recently made a $250 donation to the Monroe Scholarship Fund and another $250 donation to Boys State, a legion program to educate high school students about local, county and state government. Marino said his post had also made a $500 donation toward a handicapped bus for the VA Hospital in West Haven.
Veterans living in Monroe who are in need of assistance can often count on American Legion Post 176 for a hand, Marino added.
On Friday, legion members raised money outside the People's United Bank branches on Main Street and Monroe Turnpike, then attended the Classic Nights Car Show in the Village Square parking lot that night. Marino said many of the participants at the show are war veterans themselves.
"Four-out-of-five who donated didn't want the chocolate," Marino said. "They said to give it to the kids."