They're the people who defend our country, and some of them never return. But, the veterans who do come home, sometimes struggle to get by. Valerie Gonzalez Sanchez explains how you can help honor their sacrifices and help them get back on their feet.
See a need, fill a need. That's the undeclared motto by the non-profit organization titled 'Volunteers Serving the Need.' The void seen in our community is in that of the current employment figures for veterans.
Gabriel Lopez, Veteran and Treasurer of VSTN explains, "Especially for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. The unemployment rate is 10%, compared to the non-veteran population in the same age group, 18-25, it's still high."
This organization helps veterans and their families by providing food and other necessary items. However, with the growing problems in our economy, the need is growing not just among veterans, but also by the very organization that strives to help them.
"If you add 500 veterans that we serve monthly, plus the 65 to 70 that we have today, you're looking at about 575 veterans that are being helped from this store alone"
For the average cost of a meal at a sit-down restaurant, VSTN can provide a food for a family that could last up to 2 weeks. They provide foods like beans, canned goods, oil, vegetables, fruit and even hygiene products. It's all just to help a family trying to get by, and it's only 15 dollars a month.
Founder and CEO of VSTN, Gigi Ramos, explains how else veterans are helped through this unique adoption. "It saves them a lot of money. Now they have money to go to the doctor's, dentist's; whatever they need, they have to pay bills. This is how we can be of service to our great American heroes."
To adopt a veteran, just stop by Volunteers Serving the Need at 1202 Salinas. Payments can be submitted on a monthly or annual basis. If you are a veteran who would like to enroll for this program, you can call Gigi Ramos at 717-2960. She will be able to schedule an appointment and let you know what documents you'll need to take with you.