(Ventura, Ca) Local non-for profit Ventura County Stand Down will have its next annual event starting Friday July 27 through Sunday, July 29, 2018 offering free services to local veterans at the Ventura National Guard Armory located at 1270 Arundell Ave, Ventura, CA 93003.
On Friday, volunteers will serve 350 meals that day with gates opening at 8:00am.
“This is a massive effort of a lot of people,” shared Claire Hope, founder of Ventura County Stand Down. “Without these brave heroes, we would not have an America. No veteran should ever be homeless.”
During the two-night, three day event, Ventura County Stand Down offers a myriad of services to veterans who are homeless, those that are not homeless, and those on active duty. Veterans may bring their immediate family members such as spouses, children, or significant other to the event.
For those veterans who are not homeless or for active duty military, Ventura County Stand Down provides day passes to attend on Friday and/or Saturday to access the many available services.
“Seeing the community come together to support out veterans is emblematic of Ventura County,”said Mardu Lydick, volunteer for the event. “One of the things I love about our community in Ventura County is that if you ask people here for help, you will have an overflow to support the need. People here are so giving and especially when it comes to our Veterans, it’s a done deal. The community never lets us down.”
The event is held outdoors underneath in a tent city is constructed at the California Army National Guard Armory consisting of approximately 14 billeting tents. The tents are used to house the veterans for three days, and services are provided inside the Armory. Each veteran, upon arriving at the gate, is registered and credentialed by one of the staff volunteers and assigned to a tent, group, and group leader. Her or his personal belongings are stored in a secure storage area.
Nearly 26 years ago leaders gathered for a meeting at the Ventura County Veterans Service Office to discuss the feasibility of establishing a Stand Down in Ventura County. The results of the meeting was that just one year later, the first event took place. Veterans from the Counties of San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Los Angeles were invited to participate.
After being assigned to a tent, veterans are able to begin accessing the various services. If the veteran has any immediate legal or medical problems, they are directed to those providers first. Clothes, showers, haircuts are also the order of the day for many of the early arrivals.
During dinner, entertainment and recreational activities begin which include live entertainment encompassing many talented musicians, comedians, and signers from the local area.
According to the website, “By the end of the second day, many veterans have already begun making a tremendous transformation in their appearance and mental outlook. The community spirit and sense of camaraderie created during Stand Down helps the homeless veteran immensely.”
In addition to providers offering benefit counseling, job referrals, medical or legal help, volunteers also conduct workshops on AIDS, PTSD, agent range, VA medical benefits, etc.
During the three days, eight substantive meals are provided offering a wide range of foods. The Salvation Army in Ventura provides refreshments and snacks between meals.
To volunteer or donate items, visit the Ventura County Stand Down website by clicking here.
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