Gift Cards Help Veterans Get Basic Needs
At a time when many of our nation's veterans are struggling financially, Veterans Support Organization is donating $60,000 to start a gift card program aimed at helping thousands of veterans purchase basic needs.
The project, which will start in late May and last through next year, will be managed through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs whose social workers will distribute the gift cards to needy veterans.
Three thousand veterans in 19 states will get gift cards over a 12-month period. They can use the gift cards at stores across the nation to buy whatever they need, including food, clothing, toiletries, and other basic necessities.
"During these tough economic times, the best way to help veterans is by giving them gift cards so they can immediately take care of their most pressing needs," said Richard VanHouten, CEO and founder of Veterans Support Organization, a nonprofit organization based in Stuart, Fl.
VSO is making the $60,000 donation because veterans need considerable help these days, VanHouten says. Close to 850,000 veterans are without jobs, upwards to 135,000 are homeless, and another 1.5 million are on the verge of homelessness due to poverty and a lack of support networks.
"A gift card can go a long way toward helping a veteran in a desperate situation," VanHouten added.
Veterans Support Organization decided to have the VA system's social workers distribute the gift cards to the veterans because the social workers work directly with the veterans and they know who needs extra assistance right away.
VSO has a long-standing relationship with the VA. Since 2001, the organization has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the VA's Voluntary Services Department. VSO also has given tens of thousands of additional dollars to VFW, American Legion, DAV, American Legion Riders, and many more groups to ensure that their programs/projects succeed in helping veterans.
Because of VSO's tradition of donating to veterans causes, the organization was appointed in January to the National Advisory Committee (NAC) of Department of Veterans Affairs Voluntary Service, the nation's leading veterans volunteer organization. VSO was appointed as a result of donating for more than a decade to programs that supplement veterans care. Only a small number of nonprofit organizations are invited to serve on the NAC.
"We've worked two years on making this gift card initiative happen. I am very grateful to the VA for supporting and working with us to improve the lives of many veterans through our gift card program," VanHouten said.
The gift cards will only be made available through VA offices in 19 states. VSO offices will not be distributing the gift cards.
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