For the past few years American Legion Post 1992 in Aurora, Colo., has teamed up with the Aurora Veterans Affairs Commission, and other local agencies and organizations in October for a stand down to assist area homeless veterans. But as with events and activities throughout the nation, the coronavirus forced the cancellation of this year’s stand down.
But knowing there still was a need to assist the homeless veteran population in the area, Post 1992 recently still found a way to assist nearly 90 veterans in the area. The post teamed up with Colorado Hospitality Services (CHS) on Oct. 24 to provide food and supplies to 89 veterans experiencing homelessness and currently being housed at six different CHS hotel facilities throughout Denver.
“Times are worse than ever,” Post 1992 Junior Vice Commander Roger Martin said. “These folks are more vulnerable than ever. These guys, they need help. We wanted to do something and get some stuff out to these guys.”
Anticipating the annual stand down, “we had a number of materials gathered already that we would have distributed at the stand down,” Martin said. “So we were kind of kicking around ideas about what to do. Finally, we just sort of, through connections … we realized that we knew of a small hotel company that houses veterans experiencing homelessness.”
Homeless veterans in the Denver area are provided with temporary housing at CHS facilities, while also getting access to Department of Veterans Affairs services and job placement services through Rocky Mountain Human Services (RMHS).
Post 1992’s donations included winter clothing, hygiene kits and non-perishable food items to the veterans housed at the facilities. “We all got together in the morning and put all these boxes together,” Martin said. “Then we all took off in different directions and hit all the six places.
“Rocky Mountain Human Services was stepping up. (CHS) was stepping up. We wanted to be a part of that. We wanted to get out there and help them out if we could.”
Post 1992 also teamed up with Aurora, the city’s Veterans Affairs Commission and Hero's Pizzeria three days later to host a mobile food pantry for veteran senior citizens – hoping to provide “150-160 boxes of food” to at-risk, aging veterans,” Martin said. “It’s just an opportunity to help.”