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Volunteers lend a hand to homeless military veterans

Volunteers along with nonprofit organizations came together Saturday at the Veterans Memorial Hall to host their annual Homeless Stand Down.

Executive director of United Way Cindy Ozaki said,”We need to work together to reach out to take care of those most needy in our community.”

Homeless individuals of the community were given a warm breakfast, sleeping bags, clothes, hygiene kits, flu shots and medical screenings.

“We don’t always know where the needy are, but we know we need to try to get them the help that they need,” Ozaki said.

She also said, “And I’m so proud of our community and nonprofits and volunteers that are coming together to make a difference.”

This annual event allows community service providers to link the homeless and veterans to services they may not know exist.

Don Wahlan, a military veteran said this is important for him.

“Picking up long johns, helping a lot of homeless people,” Wahlan said.

Veteran Service Officer, Candi Rash attended this event for the first time.

She said, “I’m surprised to hear that there’s still veterans that don’t know that there are resources available to them.”

“They may need something warm to wear or something warm to sleep in. We have sleeping bags, sweaters, long johns, those types of things. We have backpacks for them to carry those things in,” Rash said.

Free Meds, along with Eastern Idaho Public Health were among the attendees.

Eastern Idaho Public Health were conducting medical screenings and performing flu shots.

Todd Jansen, commander of the Sons of the American Legion, said a lot of vets shy away from help.

“You know, vets help vets out,” Jansen said.

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