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Stand up for Stand Downs!

05/29/12

Soldiers' Angels needs volunteers to stand up for Stand Downs!

In past times of war, exhausted combat units requiring time to rest and recover would be told to "Stand Down" and be removed from the battlefields to a place of relative security and safety. Today, Stand Down refers to a community-based intervention program designed to help the nation's estimated 200,000 homeless veterans "combat" life on the streets. 

Stand Downs are partnership efforts between the VA and nonprofit/community organizations to provide services to homeless veterans.  Stand Downs are typically one-to-three-day events providing services such as food, shelter, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, such as housing, employment and substance abuse treatment.  

The first Stand Down was organized in 1988 by a group of Vietnam veterans in San Diego.  Today, more than 200 Stand Downs take place across the country every year with the philosophy of "a hand up, not a hand out."  That hand up is made possible each year by the dedication of thousands of volunteers and numerous sponsors.  One of those groups of volunteers/sponsors is Soldiers' Angels.  For the last five years, SA has been able to provide backpacks (SA's "Vet Packs") to veterans attending the events, but the tight economic times have threatened to completely derail this important outreach.

From time spent preparing or implementing the role of Soldiers' Angels in these Stand Downs, to donations of hygiene items and backpacks for the homeless veterans they serve, you are needed!  To see how you can get involved with one of the hundreds of Stand Downs near you, contact your nearest VA Volunteer Services Office.  For questions, email veterans@soldiersangels.org.



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