Hundreds of veterans received critical supplies and care to help get them back on their feet in the Stand Up for Stand Down event hosted by the Atlanta VA Medical Center at Fort McPherson.
“Stand down” is a military term that refers to the time when troops are brought back from the battlefield for rest and recuperation. Comfort bags filled with personal care items were just some of the supplies available to veterans. Attendees also received free haircuts, medical care and other services to help get them off the streets.
“A lot of our veterans, they are in need, but they don’t want a handout. They want a hand up, and this is an opportunity for them to do that,” April Edwards, clinical director for the Healthcare for Homeless Veterans Program, said. “I think it’s an opportunity for them to know what services are out there for them to know that the community and the Atlanta VA cares about this problem and that we want to eradicate homelessness among veterans.”
“I think that this event is special to the homeless veterans because as a rule we’re invisible, and it’s good to see how many different people care about us,” Richard Bellfield, an Army veteran, said.
The comfort bags were filled with the help of a toiletry drive sponsored by the metro area Pilot International Clubs and Georgia Cancer Specialists (GCS), affiliated with Northside Hospital Cancer Institute.