SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – An event was held Tuesday night to help say “thank you” to those who have protected the United States both at home and abroad.

The Military Friends Foundation “Hero Meals” program provided grocery gift cards to local military families, and first responders at the National Guard Armory in Springfield.

In support of the Thanksgiving holiday, Military Friends Foundation is providing more than $35,000 to military families at Hanscom Air Force Base in Middlesex County, Gold Star Families and local veterans as a way to simply say “Thank you for your service”.

Bernard Madore, Command Sgt. Major of the 164 transportation battalion, told 22News, “It’s good to give back, we have a lot of people that come. They’re really happy to be here, it’s a lot of veterans. We have not had the opportunity to reach the western part of the state, so it is really great to see them come in. Some, we know, some we don’t. They all tell you a little story, then we get a picture with them. It’s really good to see them.”

Hero Meals is a year-round program that accepts donations of restaurant and food gift cards.