Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
Those of us who have food, clothing and a place to call home are lucky. So many people do not have these possessions, and a lot of them are veterans. There is a multitude of courageous men and women who have served and continue to serve at home and abroad so we are able to live free. But once they have fulfilled their duties to their country, some of them might not have a home to come home to or fall or hard times while transitioning to civilian life.
It’s all too common to see a disheveled man sitting with a tin can trying to collect spare change on a street corner, or a woman carrying all she owns in a tattered backpack as she holds a cardboard sign pleading for money for food. It’s quite possible these people in need may be veterans who don’t know where to turn for help.
When Ohio Basement Authority learned about a local effort that reaches out to veterans in need, our staff was eager to get involved.
“There are so many veterans out there who have given to all of us, and now it’s time for us to give to them and show our appreciation,” said Holly Richards, Marketing Manager.
Eleven Ohio Basement Authority team members volunteered in the 21st annual Central Ohio Homeless Veterans Stand Down, which was held Oct. 20 at the Greater Columbus Convention Center. This event offered “a hand up, not a hand out” to get these men and women back on their feet. It served as a one stop shop for veterans to obtain food, clothing, haircuts, and medical, employment and legal assistance.
A total of 70 social service agencies were on hand, as well as more than 250 volunteers from throughout the community. Ohio Basement Authority's staff was stationed at the grocery area, helping fill and distribute hundreds of bags of food to guests.
According to Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, who briefly spoke during the event, veterans make up 1/3 of Columbus’ homeless population. That’s an eye-opening statistic, and so is this year’s attendance. The event served approximately 550 veterans.
“It’s heartbreaking to see so many veterans in need, but heartwarming knowing they had a safe place to seek assistance,” Richards said. “Everyone we met was so appreciative. It was a humbling experience. We were honored to be a part of this effort that helped make a difference in hundreds of lives.”