Telling you about the National Guard armories that opened last night and will open tomorrow night to provide winter shelter for the homeless, we mentioned the nonprofit running the program for the county was in need of various clothing, grooming and food items. That group is not alone. A charity for homeless military veterans has put together its own wish list.
Here's what's needed, according to Veterans-For-Change:
- Cream rinse
- Shaving Cream
- Food gift cards (McDonalds, Carls Jr., Burger King, etc.)
Veterans-For-Change volunteers will be taking the backpacks, filling them with the above items and giving them out to the needy. The packs will be assembled from noon to 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 10212 Stanford Ave., Garden Grove.
The nonprofit believes many people mistakenly believe those fighting in America's war return to find work and stable living conditions, while the military veterans wrongly conclude this nation takes care of all of them. "The cold reality is 23 percent of the homeless are veterans," notes Veterans-For-Change.
The group points to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans website, which shows that of the homeless veterans, 47 percent served during the Vietnam era, 17 percent served post-Vietnam and 76 percent experience alcohol, drug, or mental health problems. The Veterans Administration estimates that 107,000 homeless veterans sought assistance in 2009.
The VA also found that most of the assistance these veterans receive is from local, nonprofit, veterans-helping-veterans organizations. Veterans-For-Change calls its current mission the Homeless Heroes Back Pack Program. It has partnered with Young Marines, Southern California Gas, the county Health and Human Services agency and the Anaheim and Garden Grove police departments.
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The goal for this mission is 300+ back packs, according to Jim Davis, founder of Veterans-For-Change. "For $10, we can buy one back pack and for a generous donation of $25, we can complete a full back pack. Imagine being a veteran, living on the streets in freezing weather. If lucky, they may find a cardboard box to sleep on. Imagine not having a decent meal, or a shower or warm bed to sleep in, for days and months on end."
Helping veterans is personal for Davis. His father, USMC MGySgt. Lesley Davis (Ret.), also worked to help veterans, their spouses, children and widows all receive the benefits, medical care and attention and proper facilities from the VA they had coming to them--until he died in 2006 from ALS caused by Agent Orange..