I had the opportunity to participate (as a vendor) in a Stand Down event recently. For those of you who don’t know what it is here’s a brief description:
The concept of Stand Down, as related specifically to the homeless veteran crisis, was the brainchild of two Vietnam veterans, Robert Van Keuren, and Dr. Jon Nachison. The first Stand Down was held in San Diego during the summer of 1988. Today these events occur all across the U.S. and are coordinated between local VAs, other government agencies, and local organizations typically lasting one to three days and providing services to mainly homeless Veterans.
Thousand of veterans arrived and took advantage of all kinds of freebies: backpacks, clothes, showers, toiletries, haircuts, dental and medical checkups, food, legal aid, job counseling, and more. Many were provided with free transportation to the event.
I was so impressed by how well it was organized, the number and type of vendors, and the variety of services offered. The picture shows only a portion of the vendors present at the event. Click on this link here (http://www.va.gov/homeless/events.asp) to view a list of this year’s Stand Down event locations and dates.