RAPID CITY, S.D. – Veterans Day has come and gone, but the local Veterans of Foreign Wars outpost continued honoring the veteran community by helping those who are homeless.
According to the United Soldiers and Sailors of America nonprofit, an estimated 40,000 American veterans nationwide are experiencing homelessness.
Now in its fifth year, the VFW’s Boots on the Ground program has been one way to help local vets.
Around the end of summer, members of the VFW began collecting donations of winter gear and fundraising for other essential items.
“That’s the perfect time people start wanting to donate everything, and it allows us to start going through stuff,” VFW Post 1273 Commander Ralph Treece explained. “Because we will launder what needs to be laundered, and that way they’re getting stuff clean. Plus it also allows us to do our fundraisers. Because all of the – your underwear, your socks, toiletries – are all bought new.”
The vets today were able to pick out new shoes, coats, hats, gloves; any gear they need to keep warm during the winter.
Volunteers also prepared a hot meal for them, along with information on any resources they may need.
“We’ve always had a very good turnout and today is marvelous because the community has donated so many wonderful things for our veterans that are in need,” VFW Auxiliary President Beth Hendricks said.
The VFW is always looking for volunteers to help with future events.
Anyone interested in signing up to volunteer at the VFW such as helping them with their Saturday burger fundraisers or future events can check out the sign-up sheets on-location at 420 Main Street.