There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Unless, that is, you’re a needy vet visiting the Veterans Café and Grille in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Lou Mascherino and his wife Rhonda opened the restaurant on Veterans Day in 2009, and ever since they’ve welcomed veterans, offering camaraderie and a free meal to those who need it. The café’s walls are decorated with flags, photographs of veterans, and military memorabilia that patrons donate. In addition to providing a welcoming atmosphere, the Mascherinos partner with veterans organizations in the area to connect needy vets with helpful resources, and stage fundraisers. Vietnam veteran George Bontya told Bruce Smith of the Associated Press, “Veterans won’t talk to a lot to people who are not veterans. This place here is like a safe haven.”
MORE: How Doing Something With Veterans Does Something for Them (And America)