Tuesday, October 18th, 2016
Today, 20 members of the Ohio Basement Authority team volunteered at the 2016 Central Ohio Homeless Veterans Stand Down. This event was held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center downtown. For more than 20 years, the goal of Stand Down has been to provide free services to any veteran who does not own property. These services include medical, housing, child care, employment, food, toiletries, clothing, and haircuts. They were given a star at each booth, and once they had them all, they were able to receive a free pair of Rocky Boots, which are durable and warm for the winter.
Ohio Basement Authority participated last year, where the program saw 550 veterans attend for these free services and supplies. This year, there were about 700 veterans in attendance.
Our Matt Wojciechowski said he enjoyed his time helping people today.
“It was great talking to everyone and seeing them smile," he said.
Some of us volunteered in the personal shopping section. At this station, veterans were able to select hats, scarves, shirts, pants, coats, and personal hygiene supplies. We worked with individual veterans to help them pick things out that would keep them warm in the coming months, and match their fashion style.
One visitor in particular stood out to me. When I asked what he was looking for, he said, “Anything. I just need to stay warm.” He was so excited to have a choice of color in the hand-knitted hat section. He couldn’t decide between a red and blue striped one and a brown and orange one. As he was a Cleveland Browns fan, he chose the latter. Then, we made our way over to the large selection of coats and blazers. Being a football fan, he was also thrilled to find ta Super Bowl XLVII puffer coat. It would keep him warm in the months to come and allow him to represent his favorite sport. He walked off to the next station with his bags full and a smile on his face.
Our other volunteers manned the Rocky Boots section, helped serve lunch, and passed out stickers and directed people in the medical section. We all stepped in when others needed help. We worked hard to make sure things went smoothly and that these veterans received the help that they needed and the services they deserved.