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American Legion Posts Innovate To Survive During The Pandemic

Fernando Sanchez warms up attendees at American Legion Post 397's comedy night. (Robert Garrova/American Homefront)
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Before the pandemic, American Legion Post 397 in Monterey Park would host parties almost every weekend. It's the kind of place veterans could grab a drink, enjoy a meal, and swap stories over a game of billiards.

Now, with bar sales, hall rentals and other sources of income frozen, it's suffering financially, and has had to resort to creative measures to keep the lights on.

So recently it put on a comedy night with a stand-up comedian. Post 43 in Hollywood hosted a drive-in movie night.

"We've had to be innovative, we've had to figure out how to modernize a lot of American Legions," said Michael Hjelmstad, vice commander of Post 43.

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This story was produced by the American Homefront Project, a public media collaboration that reports on American military life and veterans. Funding comes from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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