Citrus Heights HART's Third Annual Veteran's Stand Down event took place on April 3rd from 9 AM to 4 PM at Holy Family Catholic Church in Citrus Heights. On this day, volunteers assisted 105 homeless and at-risk veterans with services, hot meals, pet aid services, and clothing items. The Stand Down committee is headed by Darlene Lyons of EZ Events, Terry Malone and Bill Swars of the Knights of Columbus and Stan Munoz of the LDS Church, working with committee members and volunteers.
The first veteran arrived at 7:30 AM and the last arrived at exactly five minutes prior to the end of the event. Though late, they were still able to receive food, services and other help that they needed!
Patrick Miller of The Way Ministry, organized bus pick up areas throughout the community and in nearby cities on the day of the event to ensure that any veteran who needed to be there had a way to get there. Prior to the event however, Miller generously drove out to Yuba City to collect items such as military surplus duffel bags, sleeping bags, thermals and other essentials that were of use to many of the veterans that came to the event.
Dr. James Padgett, volunteered over five straight hours of Chiropractic Services to the veterans. Thirty veterans received chiropractic services. Though he hardly had strength left in his hands by the end of the day, through the duration, he was lively and full of spirit.
The Veterinarian team provided pet food, beds, and other supplies to our veteran's service pets and companions. Twelve pets were given medical attention onsite and many others were bathed and given other vital services and supplies.
The L.D.S. Women's organization, headed by Karen Telford and Julia Thomson, put out the word that supplies were needed, and indeed supplies they did receive! Clothing and Vital Military supply essentials were offered in abundance, filling up the entire middle community hall at Holy Family Church. A large variety of faith based and community volunteer groups assisted with the handling of all donations that were generously received. Veterans were grateful for the abundance. Among their favorites to choose from were shoes, socks, gloves, knit caps, and jeans. Over half of the 1,000 articles of clothing donated, were issued to veterans on April 3rd.
Bill Swars from Holy Family Catholic Church, supervised both the breakfast and lunch offered. Not only was there plentiful food for the veterans and their guests but also every vendor and volunteer. Breakfast was provided by local merchants such as Walmart, Target and Starbucks. Texas Roadhouse of Citrus Heights, and The Holy Family Church provided lunch. Texas Roadhouse not only provided a meal for our vets, but they also supported the Holy Family Kitchen Crew with two lead prep chefs and serving volunteers.
Volunteers came from Veteran's organizations, five different church groups, church missionaries, Sertoma volunteer organization, Blue Star Moms, Grace House, and many others. These groups came together totaling an astounding number of 112 volunteers! This number does not reflect the numerous vendors and services that were there to assist veterans with their needs.
In all, the event was successful with both serving our local veterans and having our community come together to support them. Many veterans were overwhelmed with emotion; one stated with tears in his eyes, that he could not believe the community came together for 'someone like him'. Truly touched, he was grateful for the opportunity to get services that are often out of reach.
To see more photos of this event, or to visit our Facebook page, click here.
Citrus Heights HART's next event, Student Connect 2018, will take place on September 29th, and will benefit the 3,000 students within the San Juan School District that are at-risk for homelessness and are in dire need of the communities support. Partnering with Carmichael HART group, the event will be much like Stand Down, but the focus is solely on the children of the community and their families.
Thank you to the community, vendors, volunteers and sponsors of the Veterans Stand Down 2018. A special thank you to Holy Family Catholic Church for sponsoring the location and so much more for the past three years. Without you these moments, and events like Stand Down would not be feasible. We thank you for your generous continued support.
If you would like to volunteer or contribute to Student Connect 2018, please contact Citrus Heights HART at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ardi Ferris at email@example.com.