Veteran Stand-Down cancelled due to COVID-19, outdoor fair replaces it
RAPID CITY, S.D. – According to the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs over 37,000 veterans were homeless last year. Leaving some of those who sacrifice the most, with nearly nothing to survive on.
Locally each year several organizations come together to help those veterans in need.
Typically, the V.A. hosts a veteran stand-down at the civic center. The event is a time to give out resources and necessities to veterans living in poverty, homelessness, or both.
Due to COVID-19 the stand-down had to be cancelled this year, but the V.A. and Goodwill, along with several other organizations wanted to make sure veterans were taken care of.
“Western Dakota Tech, I think it’s the rapid city face mask project, started off. They made 300 masks for the veterans to have so they can wear and go through our event. We have boxed lunches, and the holiday in was kind enough to donate their parking lot,” said Lisa Senecal, with Goodwill.
The fair was hosted outdoor in the parking lot of the Rushmore Holiday Inn to provide an open and safe space for people to check out the booths.
Available for free were hygiene kits, winter clothing, and health services such as flu shots and blood pressure checks.
All it to ensure that homeless vets were prepared for winter, which is an especially dangerous time for people that are homeless.
JCPenny gave the goodwill brand new, unused coats to give to those in need.
“So, we were able to purchase them for a really good deal and then they also came down and helped us unload and distribute. And this year we decided instead of getting hoodies and stuff like that we wanted to get coats and boots,” shared Senecal.
Almost all the services and items were donated and everything at the fair was free for veterans