In downtown Tulsa, an army of volunteers filled the inside of First United Methodist Church with an urgent mission – to help homeless Veterans not only get off the streets, but to stay off the streets.
More than 200 volunteers and 62 community partners came together on Saturday, Sept. 21, to provide a one-stop, one-shop resource event for homeless Veterans and formerly homeless Veterans who are receiving housing assistance.
Coordinated by the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System Homeless Program, the Stand Down for Homeless Veterans provided food, clothing, haircuts, housing and employment resources, VA Benefits information and health screenings to 264 Veterans and 26 non-Veterans.
‘You helped a lot of people.’
“The Stand Down is a place where homeless Veterans can come and get any and all resources that they need to get into housing and get off the street,” said Melanie Steward-Goldman, VA Homeless and CWT Program Manager. “The goal of Stand Down is to have all those resources in one place so Veterans don’t have to go all over the community to gather these essential resources.”
Marine Veteran Kelvin Gilmore attended this year’s Stand Down for the first time. He came away impressed at the number of resources available to Veterans.
“There’s a lot of people, especially Veterans, in need and you guys did an excellent job,” said Gilmore. “You provided a well needed service and made resources available to many that not only need it, but would not have known how to find it if you guys weren’t here. I’m really grateful that you’re here. You helped a lot of people.”
For more coverage on the Stand Down event, check out Tulsa VA’s Facebook page.
Nate Schaeffer is a public affairs specialist at the Ernest Childers VA Outpatient Clinic