By Terry Rogers
In 2014 Patti Persia and her husband Jamie Burk decided they wanted to give back to the community in order to show their children what the holidays were truly about. They learned about the Home of the Brave, a shelter for homeless veterans, and that many of the residents had no family close at the holiday season. Ms. Persia contacted the shelter and learned that there were many items the veterans needed, some that most of us take for granted, and the couple decided to stuff baskets with those items.
The first event was held in the couple’s home and the outpouring of support for the event was such a success, Ms. Persia and Burk knew they needed to continue it each year. This year, the event will be held on Thursday, December 21 from 5 to 8 PM at Arena’s in Milford. Ramsey Schrader, owner of Arena’s, donates the space for the basket stuffing as well as gift cards for the veterans.
“In the past four years, we have donated more than $8,000 in money, gift certificates and products to the home,” Ms. Persia said. “Jamie and I decided to do this to help veterans in our community because we believe they deserve our respect and our thanks. Many of the veterans in the homes suffer from PTSD and other ailments. Many of them do not get out to meet with people at all and few have families nearby, so the holidays are a tough time for them. We hope that seeing our community come together and sharing the joy of the holidays will help make their lives a little brighter.”
Ms. Persia said that veterans will be present at the event and will arrive around 6 PM. Jessica Finan, Director of the Home of the Brave, will make a presentation to explain what the shelter does and how people can get involved.
According to Ms. Finan, the veterans need many of the basic supplies that most people take for granted. Some arrive at the shelter with nothing other than a backpack and many come to the shelter with no personal belongings at all. Some could have been homeless for several months and have not had the basic necessities for personal hygiene.
Ms. Persia said that they are accepting items like body wash, socks, underwear and t-shirts. Rolls of stamps are also accepted as the home provides job search skills which means veterans may be mailing applications and resumes to potential employers. The shelter needs new twin bed linens, new towels, paper towels and toilet paper. Food items like meat, vegetables, fruits and coffee are also accepted. The veterans need DART bus passes as well as gift cards to purchase items that are not available at the shelter. Cash is accepted to help offset costs that may not be covered by grants.
At the event, 20 baskets will be stuffed for 15 men and 5 women who are staying at the shelter.
The mission of the Home of the Brave is to reduce homelessness among the veteran population by providing transitional housing, food and security. The shelter works to end homelessness among its residents by providing employment assistance, counseling services, access to healthcare, transportation and assistance in helping the veterans find affordable permanent housing. The goal is to help the residents successfully transition into permanent housing and personal independence. Donations are also accepted of items that can be used to transition veterans to a permanent home, such as small appliances, new towels and linens, dishes as well as pots and pans.
For more information about the Home of the Brave, call 302-424-1681. More information about the Basket Stuffing Event can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/1997233907201736/?active_tab=about.
Sign up for you free digital subscription of The Weekly Review, delivered directly to your email every Tuesday morning. A quick cover-to-cover read to catch up on the news of the week and experience great stories about our local communities. Sign up for your free email subscription below.