Thursday, September 12, 2013

How You Can Help Homeless Veterans

Combat zones exist in many different places. They can be found in the most obvious places like Iraq or Afghanistan, or unfortunately for too many veterans, here at home. For these homeless warriors, the battlefield is a lone soldier living in his truck in the wake of a home foreclosure, or a veteran sleeping in a dark, deafening homeless encampment secreted under a freeway. Many men and women not only do not have a constant place to go to for shelter, but are also lacking basic items like socks, t-shirts, and underwear. Vol State students are working to make a difference.

A student donates items to a bin located in the bookstore.
The Physical Therapy Program (PTA) has partnered with Operation Stand Down, a non-profit organization that provides employment readiness training and the support items needed for employment, including placement assistance, transitional housing, mail service, clothing and much more.

The PTA students have a Service Learning Project this semester. One part of it is the collection of clothing that may seem like a small thing, but can be a big deal to those on the streets: new socks,underwear, and t-shirts. They request that all items remain in the original packaging, and need items for both men and women.

There will be donation bins set up around campus for anyone to drop off their items. They will be placed at the Library, Bookstore, and Building 100 and there will even be one in Livingston.

PTA Student Donald Brack, a retired service member of the Army, is leading the effort. It's more than just the clothing drive. They will be working at the annual Operation Stand Down event in Nashville in October.

Donald Brack created the idea to donate items.
"We are going to be providing services that are physical therapy oriented.We will be checking veteran's feet and legs for anything that looks off, as well as things like repairing crutches, assisting devices such as walkers, crutches and wheelchairs."
I asked him why this service learning project was important to the PTA program.

"It gives us a chance to give back to the community and, most importantly, to our veterans.  Unfortunately, some of these veterans are living hard lives and need to be taken care of. It also gives us a chance to put our skills to work."

The bins are going to be collected on October 11, so everyone is encouraged to donate now.  

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