The Backpack Program That’s Saving Veterans And Their Pets From Homelessness
When you purchase a Good Pack on behalf of a homeless veteran and their beloved pet, you will be letting them know they have not been forgotten by the country they served.
“When you’re a homeless veteran and you’ve lost everything, the smallest little thing can mean the world to you,” says Navy veteran and president and CEO of Veterans Village of San Diego Kim Mitchell.
Each homeless veteran comfort pack includes:
- A backpack to hold supplies and possessions.
- A hygiene kit including shampoo, soap, and toothbrush.
- A reusable water bottle.
- A t-shirt and socks to provide a clean change of clothing.
- A blanket for warmth and comfort.
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Many homeless veterans are also caring for a beloved animal companion. These animals provide emotional support and comfort, yet the responsibility can bring added stress to a homeless veteran’s life.
“Having an animal to be there and support, to be there to comfort them, is really crucial for a lot of our veterans to kind of fit back into normalcy again,” Mitchell says. “That’s their battle buddy now.”
Each pet pack includes items to help a homeless veteran care for their pet.
- A collapsible bowl to provide a clean place for the pet to eat or drink.
- A slip lead leash to ensure the pet remains safe with their veteran owner.
- A treat and a toy that provides the dog with comfort and happiness. This gift also helps to create an even stronger bond between the veteran and their pet.
According to HUD figures, close to 38,000 veterans were homeless during January 2018. These are the same individuals who answered the call to duty during our nation’s most threatening times; and yet, they are living without even the most basic of human needs. They have fought in many wars, and today, they are without a place to call home.
There are several factors that can cause a veteran to either become or come close to homelessness:
- Lack of affordable housing, with housing and living costs currently on the rise
- Limited civilian jobs that are comparable with a veteran’s unique employment experience and skill set
- Living with a physical or mental disability, like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Substance abuse, with some cases resulting from the physical and mental demands of deployment and war
GreaterGood.org’s goal is to provide the support for those who are on the front lines helping our veterans cope with these complex issues. We are committed to causes that are both actively supporting homeless veterans as well as those committed to addressing the risk factors to prevent homelessness. Some of these include:
- Helping locate, obtain or provide safe & supportive housing
- Provide job training and employment
- Provide nutritious and consistent meals
- Provide pet and equine therapy to alleviate the effects of PTSD
With the help of donations from supporters like you, volunteers from GreaterGood distributed packs throughout the western U.S.:
- 200 packs to Esperanza En Escalante (Veteran Housing), Tucson, AZ
- 300 packs to the Sister Jose Women’s Shelter, Tucson, AZ
- 50 packs to the Tucson Veteran Stand Down Event, Tucson, AZ
- 200 packs to the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System, Tucson, AZ
- 200 packs to the Pima Animal Care Center, Tucson, AZ
- 500 packs to Veterans Village, San Diego, CA
- 500 packs to the Seattle Stand Down Event, Seattle, WA
- 300 packs to UMOM, Phoenix, AZ
- 300 packs to Community Action North Bay, Fairfield, CA (between Sacramento & San Francisco)
GreaterGood has also partnered with VA facilities across the country to distribute the packs:
- 15 packs went to Charles George VA Medical Center, Asheville, NC
- 15 packs went to EOVAMC Homeless Program, VA in Tulsa, OK
- 15 packs went to Fargo VA Health Care System, Fargo, ND
- 20 packs went to James H. Quillen VA, Mountain Home, TN – 20 packs
- 15 packs went to Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, Charleston, SC
- 20 packs went to VA Medical Center, Memphis, TN
- A further 350 packs are scheduled to go out to other VA locations around the country
These packs are making a difference in the lives of veterans and others in need all across the U.S., and they are made possible by the help of your donations. Help us keep this program going, and change even more lives. A full 100% of your donation will go towards helping homeless veterans. You can learn more about this life-changing program and many others at the new GreaterGood.com click-to-give site.
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