For the past three years, the American Red Cross Services to the Armed Forces (SAF) has donated personal care items for hospitalized veterans at the three Veterans Health Administration hospitals in the Central Florida Region: James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa; C.W. Bill Young VA Medical Center in Bay Pines; and the Orlando VA Medical Center in Lake Baldwin.
The Hospital Outreach Program (HOP) provides funds to help VA medical centers and hospitals meet some of the needs of local patients. Each year, the Red Cross SAF team works with the medical centers in the region to identify items of greatest need that can be purchased with HOP funds.
In 2017, all three facility identified the same needs: new personal clothing items such as t-shirts, undergarments, gym shorts and socks for those staying in the facilities, as well as bus passes which can be used for patients to return home after treatment or to come back to the hospital for future appointments.
The Central Florida SAF team was able to secure $1,500 in HOP funds to purchase hundreds of new items, which were distributed equally among the three centers.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to support our local veterans by supplying much-needed personal items,” said Trancell Ward, Red Cross SAF specialist. “It is humbling to know that something as simple as a t-shirt or pair of gym shorts can make someone’s day a little brighter.”
As an original Charter Member of the Veterans Administration Voluntary Services (VAVS) Committee, the Red Cross has served more than 1 million military families. “Our commitment to members of the military is unwavering, and HOP funds are just another way we can continue to serve those who served their country,” added Ward.