13abc Veterans Supply Drive runs through May 31st
Dropoff boxes at all Yark dealerships; household/personal care items and monetary donations accepted
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - 13abc is teaming up with Yark Automotive Group, H.O.O.V.E.S. and the Lucas County Veterans Service Commission for a Veterans Supply Drive. Now through May 31st, all Yark dealerships -- 9 dropoff locations in Toledo, Maumee, and Perrysburg -- will be accepting select goods and monetary donations.
“Some veterans come home from being in the service, and have no idea on what to go or where to go,” says David Blackshear, a Vietnam veteran with the United States Army. “There are agencies out here like Channel 13 who bring it out to the public, and let the community know what’s needed.”
Blackshear wears many hats as an advocate for those who have served and helps homeless and underprivileged veterans -- over 47,000 in the United States -- build resumes and prepare for job interviews to rejoin the workforce. He knows the importance of VA resources firsthand.
“At one time in my life, I was homeless,” he says candidly. “I had nowhere to stay, went through a bad marriage and got involved with substance abuse and alcohol.”
The Veterans Service Commission helped Blackshear locate housing, and paid the deposit plus the first month’s rent to get him back on his feet.
“[We have] doctors, nurses, and even a program to help us overcome whatever our substance abuse problems are, mental challenges, physical disabilities... they’re here for us. All organizations that are involved with helping veterans, I’m so happy and very grateful for their assistance.”
This supply drive will focus mostly on household and personal care items like toiletries, trash bags, cleaning agents, and the like -- items that you can’t really buy with food stamp programs, and ones sorely needed when transitioning to veteran housing. As social worker/case manager Tania Sloan puts it: “We constantly have a need for food items and food drives, but also for these personal care items -- deodorant, shampoo, all those kinds of things.
There are good signs for the program, with one federal study showing veteran homelessness nearly cut in half over the last decade (pre-pandemic). Blackshear credits both VA restructuring and a more compassionate populace -- one he hopes will tap into their giving nature this month. “What changed now, I think, is the community being more receptive and welcoming to the veterans... they care.” Sloan adds, “We don’t take credit for any [homeless person’s] success. It’s them wanting to take that step, but needing someone to help them along the way.”
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