VETERANS RECEIVE FOOD AND HOME PRODUCTS, MORE VETERANS’ EVENTS TO COME IN 2022
More than 115 Veterans and their families were given boxes of food and home products on Jan. 22, at The Salvation Army’s Temple corps in south St. Louis, as part of a Food 4 Vets program partnership with Veterans’ aid group The Kaufman Fund.
Veterans volunteered at the two-hour event, as did Salvation Army and City Mission Collective staff, local high school students, and others, on a cold winter Saturday morning in the corps’ parking lot.
“I’m a retired command sergeant major,” Ricky Elcan, of The Kaufman Fund, said. “Soldiers are my life. The military is like a family. Once soldiers get out of the military, there is nothing in the world that says they can come out here and be guaranteed to have a job to help pay for food, rent and utilities. It’s so important for us to support the Veterans to support themselves.”
More Veterans’ events are scheduled for Friday, March 25, from 1 to 3 p.m. at The Salvation Army O’Fallon corps (1 William Booth Dr.) and Friday, May 20, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Family Haven (10740 Page Blvd.), in addition to several others to come in Missouri and Illinois.
Jan. 22’s event was an increase in reach from a Kaufman Fund Dec. 2021 Veterans’ food drive that served 75 Veterans. Planners are hoping for still bigger turnouts with coming events.
“We have Veterans who sometimes do not want to take the food because they feel like they’re taking away from another Veteran,” Wayne Kaufman, president of The Kaufman Fund and a Veteran, said. “I always tell them this is for the Veteran community. You served, and you earned it. So, please come and pick up the groceries.”
Items for Veterans included shelf-stable foods, such as cereals and canned goods, chicken, sausage, personal care items, paper towels, soap, and cups.
The Salvation Army’s care for Veterans goes back to at least the first World War. Salvation Army assistance during World War II was occasionally in the field after combat.
Veterans’ temporary housing is provided by The Salvation Army at the Veterans Residence, at 2935 Locust Blvd. In celebration of their public service as soldiers, Veterans are treated by The Salvation Army as a protected group of people. Addiction rehabilitation is available for Veterans who need it, at the nearby Midtown Service and Treatment Center.
Transitional housing is also provided for qualifying Veterans by The Salvation Army in apartments around the region.
"Housing is in huge need in our Veterans community, LaKeysha Fields, assistant director of Salvation Army divisional social services, said. "We have a lot of unhoused Veterans. Then, we have a lot who struggle with mental health or substance abuse. Sometimes, it's just hard to get to be where you want to be."