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Feeding Veterans

Feeding Veterans

Getting off the Metro at McPherson Square in DC, coming up the escalator to head to the office, I almost bumped into a man in a BDU jacket – with a small sign “Veteran, US Army, looking for work”.  He was sitting with a group of other men, wearing bits and pieces of uniforms.  I could see that he and the others lived there from the sleeping bags rolled out in a small alcove area, and the backpacks and plastic bags up against the wall.  Around them rushed men in 3 piece suits, women in skirts and sneakers carrying their work heels.  And then I realized, the entrance to Metro is under the Department of Veterans Affairs.

More than 130,000 homeless vets

The figures are stunning.  The VA’s 2009 CHALENG report tabulates and calculates that there are over 107,000 veterans who are homeless on any given night.  New reports put that figure at over 130,000, that one in three homeless are veterans.   Add to these the numbers of veterans and their families who may have a roof over their heads, but may not have any food in the pantry.  In this time of unemployment, veterans unemployment is greater in numbers and percentage than that of other men and women of the same age and education level.  For whatever reason, veterans in this country are joining the ranks of those without homes, without jobs, without food and without hope.

There are a multitude of groups trying to reverse this trend.  The large veterans groups such as the American Legion, the Disabled American Veterans, the VFW and the newer IAVA and AWV groups all have programs designed to help veterans find housing, jobs, training and health care. The well-known “Stand Downs” that draw thousands for health care, meals, baths and clean clothes are in many cities and townsand  have also spawned local and national support groups and even apps that are designed to help veterans apply for benefits or find a job or even to find a service or companion dog to help them overcome PTS or other problems.

Feed Our Vets

A group trying to help at the very ground level of support is Feed Our Vets. FOV is establishing pantries to help veterans obtain good nutritious food; to help them keep their families fed and preserve their dignity.  With cuts to nutrition programs and food stamps, these families will be at more risk of hunger or lack of appropriate nutrition needed to stay healthy, to learn and grow; after all, many of these families include children!  Many veterans are elderly, their pensions have suffered, Social Security isn’t enough, and some have a choice of whether to pay their bills for energy or housing, or to eat.  Our community, the military community, wants to help our veterans, which will relieve the burden on community food shelves and pantries, freeing these resources to help others in need.  .  Taking care of our own is an ingrained habit of ours, but help is needed from all.  These veterans and families deserve our respect and an outreached hand, a little help to get over a rough time until they can get back on their feet.   That’s the point.

Related Stories:

Experienced Vets Need Job Help

PTSD Awareness Day June 27, 2011

OIL, CLIMATE CHANGE, NATIONAL SECURITY and VETERANS

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6:44AM PDT on Nov 5, 2011

Thank you.

11:56AM PDT on Jul 24, 2011

Because of PTSD or Soldier's Heart, many veterans are homeless. Cowgirls Git-R--Dun is a nonprofit organization that is putting together a World Record Motorcycle ride to raise $1 million each for Homeless Veterans, Domestic Violence Victims and Breast Cancer patients. George Taylor, president and founder of the National Veterans Homeless Support organization has teamed up with us for this worthy cause. Please go to http://www.cowgirlsgitrdun.com, check out our web site and, if you are a biker, please register for at least one leg of the ride. Veterans put their lives on the line for us every day. It is time we helped them out as well. Veterans, both male and female are also victims of domestic violence and female veterans also get breast cancer. But the Tea Party Republicans want to cut funding for veterans health care. By registering for at least one leg of the ride, you will be helping veterans more than you know. Also, our sponsor is a national grocery chain and will refund your registration fee in groceries. Also, for every leg of the ride you register for, you will receive 1 entry into a drawing for a free motorcycle. By going to http://www.cowgirlsgitrdun.com and registering for at least one leg of the ride, you will be helping homeless veterans, victims of domestic violence and breast cancer patients. And you will receive groceries in return for your registration.

6:24PM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

I am embarrased to say I haven't helped a Veteran;s group but am going to see what I can do. Thanks for the article.

5:58PM PDT on Jul 13, 2011

Thank you.

10:50AM PDT on Jul 11, 2011

This is hard to believe. The defense budget is huge -- for weapons. Congress should designate a certain amount of this budget for our men and women who serve. No matter how many weapons we build, we will need men and women to operate them. When they lay their lives on the line for us, some of our tax dollars should be spent to make sure they have a home and food. It's the least we can do. I don't understand why we will send billions as foreign aid, but begrudge men, women, and children at home.

4:14PM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

Thank you.

5:02AM PDT on Jul 10, 2011

I find it hard to believe that only 24% of respondents have volunteered for a Veterans' group. So very sad. Get out there and help them. You don't have to give money, only your time.

8:50AM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

Gladly Signed the petition in honor of our vets who need respect for making our nation what it is today.

8:47AM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

I always thank a veteran or a military when I see one for making our country for what it is today and shake their hand. The smile they give back is worth more than a thousand words.

8:14AM PDT on Jul 8, 2011

noted

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