BAILEY’S PACE – STAND DOWN. HOMELESS TROOPS. BY BAILEY PACE

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Spring is here and life is getting busy. Your list of spring-cleaning tasks seems to grow like the flowers that poke up overnight. As days get busier and busier, we can become consumed. The worries and struggle of others can be the farthest thing from our minds. This is often when people need help the most. And who better to help than those who have served our country? Veterans who gave their all to the good fight often find themselves out of place in civilian life. This can lead to homelessness. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) estimated in 2010 that on any given night there were 76,000 veterans sleeping on American streets. Recognizing that this is unacceptable, many are coming together to help, and you can too.

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A collection is being taken to supply The Marshall ‘Tink’ Sanford Memorial Veterans Stand Down with many necessities for homeless troops. During the Stand Down, homeless veterans will be provided with a broad range of necessities including food, counseling, referral services, and, most importantly, camaraderie and companionship. It is being held on May 26th and 27th at the Rainelle Army Reserve Center in Rainelle, West Virginia, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. All homeless/nearly homeless veterans and their families are invited. Also, the May “Stand Down” coincides with the Memorial Day Vietnam Veteran’s Run for the Wall that goes through Rainelle. This has become a community-supported weekend of activities including the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall being on display, veterans visiting the local school, concerts and parades.

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The items given away at the Stand Down were surplus military items from a depot warehouse in New Jersey. Unfortunately, this warehouse recently burned down. The Spring Stand Down day is coming up at the end of May and with the warehouse burning down there is little to nothing for the veterans in need. Thankfully, an alternate military surplus source has been found that the VA Homeless Veteran Team in Beckley can access. The Veteran’s Administration, located in Beckley of Southern West Virginia, has a Homeless Team that supports at risk, homeless veterans with programs, outreach and even a ten bed shelter but your help is still needed to make sure this stand down has plenty for the homeless veterans. Local businesses and community members are urged to donate items such as:

• Duffel bags
• Book bags
• Suitcases
• Cots
• Sleeping bags
• Jackets
• Clothes (especially socks,underwear, hats, and gloves)
• Shoes
• Toiletries
• First aid kits
• Blankets
• Cookware
• Ponchos
• Toilet paper and wipes
• Nonperishable food items

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These donations can be made by calling Tracie Hamb, MSW, LCSW (304)255-2121 Ext. 4429 with the VA Medical Center, Beckley, WV. Or you can make direct monetary donations through the GoFundMe.com/StandDownDay

– Bailey Pace. LBSPY #76, April 2016.

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