Message from the CEO: It’s our season!December 11, 2023
HVAF Board Member treats our veterans to lunch at Skyline Club!December 13, 2023
What is the image that comes to mind when you think of a homeless veteran? Is it an older, single gentleman, who likely served in Vietnam? Would it surprise you if I gave you an image of a single mother in her 30s raising four children living in their car? Or what about an older couple who have younger children and are experiencing food insecurity? HVAF serves ALL homeless veterans and their families, and the demographics can be vastly different from veteran to veteran.
The Veteran Engagement Committee was created to provide activities for our families which they would not otherwise be able to experience while building a community of support. We have planned Easter egg hunts, a carnival, a haunted house, and many other ways to engage with fun opportunities to connect. As we have grown, community partners have joined us in our efforts! They have provided financial resources, food, volunteers, and venues; and have helped the committee to grow and do more throughout the year!
This holiday season, I wanted to highlight St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for planning a wonderful Christmas party for the families living in one of our permanent housing properties. The church provided three gifts for each child, food, crafts, games, a reading of the Christmas story, and caroling! In addition, they gave each family a bag of groceries, cookies, and a gift card. The pictures say a thousand words of the joy, appreciation, and memories created for these families!
As I was watching everyone sing together, I was overwhelmed with the thoughts of how all these children were once homeless. You would never know because of their smiles, the tenacity they seem to radiate, and how well they behaved and appreciated the event. Yet, these children have been through some really tough days!
The images of the children’s faces remained with me throughout the day as I reflected on how HVAF impacts lives. We always say, no hero should ever be homeless. This statement is very true, but let us not forget, many of these heroes have children and spouses who are affected as well. HVAF serves them all!
We are only able provide these programs and services because of community partners who provide funding, resources, and support. It all starts with housing, and then addressing the other barriers by providing employment and mental health services, legal services, and a food, hygiene, and clothing pantry.
That’s not where it ends! We know our families need community and their children need to be able to experience more of the world, and I saw that Saturday as they sang Silent Night together. Thank you, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church for partnering with us and giving this priceless gift to our families! It will not be forgotten. If you are interested in supporting HVAF, please e-mail me at email@example.com – I would love to talk with you.