Archive for July, 2011

No American Should Be Forgotten

The 4th of July provides an opportunity every year to honor those serving in the military and reflect upon the sacrifices made to defend our country and its freedoms. While our thoughts naturally go to those currently serving, we shouldn’t forget to think about those who returned home and fell on hard times.

Every night, thousands of veterans are homeless in cities across the United States. It’s a national tragedy that those who served our country are now left forgotten and on the streets. Since World War II, Volunteers of America has been a leader in providing services to veterans in need. Today, we are one of the largest providers of assistance to homeless vets, serving approximately 7,700 of these men and women each year. We pride ourselves not only on getting these folks off the streets, but also treating the underlying causes of their homelessness so they can live successful and independent lives over the long term. We’re also proud to work with a number of partners on this important mission, including a close relationship with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.

Volunteers of America recently entered into a new partnership with The Home Depot Foundation to rehabilitate existing housing that will provide affordable rental homes for veterans and their families. These projects are now underway in cities across the country.

But it’s not just homeless veterans who need our help. Children are another group who are disproportionately affected by homelessness. Summer is the time of year that many Volunteers of America affiliates are collecting school supplies for annual Operation Backpack campaigns. These campaigns ensure that all children, even those who are homeless, have the supplies they need to start school in the fall. Our largest campaign, in New York City, aims to collect enough supplies to provide backpacks to all 11,000 children living in city homeless shelters.

I hope you’ll join me on our mission to ensure that no American, young or old, is forgotten and relegated to living life on the streets.

– By Mike King, National President and CEO, Volunteers of America

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