News: Army Reserve soldiers deliver soap for homeless veterans
Story by Sgt. Raymond Boyington
WORCESTER, Mass. – Veterans Inc. worked with the teams of the 1st Battalion, Army Reserve Careers Division to distribute donations of soap to three homeless shelters in Worcester, Boston and Beverly, Mass., last week.
The shelters receiving these donations include the New England Center for Homeless Veterans and the Massachusetts Veterans Shelter.
Hilton Hotels made a donation of more than 70 boxes of soap to aid this effort. This helps each shelter fulfill their missions in assisting veterans currently facing homelessness who may not have basic amenities.
“We’re so happy to hear and see that soap is available, because we just don’t get these things on a regular basis,” said John Person, the operations manager for Veterans Inc. “We take it for granted that we can get some of these things. All of the clients we have here in our housing programs and in our community don’t have the same opportunities that we do right now.”
More than 300,000 veterans are living on the streets or in shelters in the United States on any given night. Primary causes of homelessness include lack of income, combat-related health issues and disabilities, and lack of services that help veterans.
Organizations like Veterans Inc. and the New England Center for Homeless Veterans attempt to provide these kinds of services.
The organization worked with each ARCD team to coordinate the deliveries to each of the shelters.
The ARCD teams span over three different regions and include Area 5 through 7. Members include Master Sgt. John Martin, Sgt. 1st Class Wendy Parkinson, Sgt. 1st Class Armon Lee, Sgt. 1st Class Belinda Johnson, Sgt. 1st Class Gerald Willis, Master Sgt. Christine Hughes, Sgt. 1st Class Bryan O’Rourke, Sgt. 1st Class Sean McKenney, Sgt. 1st Class Lovie Taylor, Sgt. 1st Class Francisco Bermudez and Sgt. 1st Class Harry Rinker.
“We were trying to give back, trying to serve those and be supportive of what they do, and help them in any way we can,” said Rinker, the leader for the ARCD Area 6 team based in Taunton, Mass. “It is a project that has the full support by our command. They want us to volunteer and to find ways to give back to the community that supports us.”
After dropping off their donation, the soldiers of Area 6 took a tour with Grady Jones, the veteran's logistic supervisor of the New England Center for Homeless Veterans in Boston.
“It takes a lot more than just food and shelter,” said Grady. “It could be anything from case management, to financial assistance, education assistance or it could be peer support whatever they need to get back on their feet.”