Homeless veterans at the Southeast Veterans Service Center in Washington got a pleasant holiday surprise on Dec. 22 when representatives from The American Legion delivered 10 Christmas baskets filled with turkeys and other goodies to them, along with winter clothing and an assortment of toys.
"This is one of the ways that The American Legion assists homeless veterans and their families during the year," said Joe Sharpe, director of the Legion's Economic Division. "This is such a serious issue - and the number of homeless veterans with children is rising dramatically - that is definitely a real challenge to eliminate.
"But at least we can make sure some of the homeless veterans in our own community are taken care of for the Christmas holiday," he said.
Anthony Fiore, a member of The American Legion's Small Business Task Force, donated $200 to provide food to homeless veterans during the Christmas season. Fiore is president of Veterans 2 Business Partners in Fairfax, Va., a service-disabled veteran-owned small business. His company specializes in IT and customer resource management, as well as business development consulting.
Sharpe and his deputy director, Mark Walker, also delivered a Christmas basket to a homeless woman veteran and her child at the New Endeavors by Woman shelter in Washington.
"One basket full of food makes a big difference for a mother and child at Christmas time when they don't even have their own place to live," Walker said. "It may be a small gesture when you think of all the agencies and people working on behalf of homeless veterans, but it's one way we can thank a veteran for her service during the holiday season."
The Legion's Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division also helped to organize the delivery of Christmas baskets. Coats and other winter clothing were donated by national staff members at The American Legion's office in Washington.