Each November we observe National Veterans and Military Families Month and Veterans Day -- a time to honor and recognize the the incredible sacrifices veterans, service members and their families make for our country.
From the moment they take their oath, members of our military make a commitment to serve our country -- often at great personal cost to themselves and their families.
The need for support doesn’t end with active duty. Veterans and their families rely on the Red Cross to help them identify their needs and connect them to critical community services including emergency needs for food, housing, mental health support and other resources.
In the case of veterans who have become homeless or are at-risk for homelessness, the Red Cross collaborates with community outreach partners in local stand down events, designed to provide access to resources and basic essentials in a single location.
In the last month, Red Cross volunteers and staff members from our Mid-Florida Chapter and Southwest Florida Chapter were honored to participate in three events for our most vulnerable veterans:
- In Polk County, our team participated in a 1st time stand down event serving 75 homeless veterans. Thank you to volunteers AnnaBelle Smith, Azael Camarena and Phil LaPointe, and staff members Laura Patrick and Tina Sweeten for attending.
- In Pasco County, our team attended the 7th annual One Community Now Operation Stand Down serving over 190 veterans. This particular event runs for 2.5 days, and is the only one in Central Florida where attendees can get a shower, haircut, three meals, and the opportunity to stay overnight at a local high school. Thank you to volunteers Cliff and Joanne Bibb, and Elaine Imhof who managed the hot coffee service.
- In Manatee County, the 23rd annual Stand Down hosted by Turning Points served 125 veterans. Thank you to volunteers Vince Vincent, Susan Snyder and Wei Viloria, and staff members Lindy Rummery and Lou Rodriguez for supporting.
At these events, Red Cross volunteers share information on available services and provide free “comfort kits.” The kits, which also go to families after an emergency like a home fire, contain personal hygiene items such as toothpaste and a toothbrush, soap, shampoo and shaving gel. Basic clothing essentials are also available.
This November, you can honor those who served by giving your time too. As a Red Cross volunteer, you can help veterans and military families receive the support and care they desperately need. Sign up to be a Service to the Armed Forces volunteer at redcross.org/VolunteerToday.
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