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News | Feb. 15, 2018

Distribution Headquarter employees volunteer to help homeless vets during annual Homeless Vet Stand Down

By Brianne M. Bender DLA Distribution Public Affairs

The 12th annual Harrisburg Area Homeless Veterans Stand Down was held from Jan. 19 to 21, hosted by the Pennsylvania National Guard at the Harrisburg Military Post. DLA Distribution Headquarters Organizational Management and Transportation employees as well as members of Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 1620 – Middletown, Pennsylvania, Donnie Thompson, Andy Bradford, Army Staff Sgt. William Fernandez, Charlie Hughley and Rick Snyder, volunteered at the event.

Since 2007, the YWCA Greater Harrisburg’s Veterans Services Department has served as the primary coordinator for the annual event. This was also Thompson’s 12th year as a volunteer.

The annual multiday event brings together numerous federal, state and local agencies, along with hundreds of volunteers, to provide all homeless and “at risk” veterans with any services needed. Transportation to and from the event is provided for homeless veterans throughout much of South Central Pennsylvania.

Typical services provided at the Stand Down include: VA medical services; combat veterans services including the VET Center; PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs referral services; rapid re-housing; employment assistance; legal assistance; dental care; advocacy services; recovery services; mental health services; benefits counseling; connection with military service organizations; overnight shelter and other critical supplies.

In addition to providing the vets with three meals a day, showers and cots to sleep on, a clothing drive is held. Each participant provides clothing size upon arrival and at the end of their stay, they are given a duffle bag filled with clothes and hygiene kits.

“It is inspiring and amazing how much time people give up to help those in need,” said Bradford.

During the event, a check was presented in the amount of $8,000 to the Harrisburg YWCA, for their use to support the homeless veterans. The funds were raised via fundraisers supported by the Pennsylvania State VFW, District 18 and Post 1620 – Middletown, Pennsylvania.