The Old Broad Says: ‘Help Veterans for Peace Buy Sleeping Bags for the Homeless’

by on December 6, 2018 · 2 comments

in Ocean Beach, Veterans

As my international students and I ate a “turkeyless” dinner on Thanksgiving, I was reminded of the years my family had to wait for my husband to arrive home because he, and other members of Veterans for Peace, were busy distributing sleeping bags, water, and sometimes candy to the homeless living on the streets.  (This Thanksgiving we were not waiting for Bob, since he has been gone for over 9 years, but our Thanksgiving was cancelled because I had two daughters in the hospital – one in Australia, and one here in San Diego.)

As my students and I discussed the meaning of Thanksgiving, they asked why the vets’ group distributed sleeping bags, how they got them, and who financed them.  The students see people sleeping on the streets every day, since their ESL school is downtown.  Miki said there are very few homeless in Japan; Lea said that she has not seen any homeless in Switzerland.  Perhaps it is too cold in both places.

Veterans receive new sleeping bags from Veterans for Peace

I told her that many of our vets come out of their civic duty with ailments they didn’t have when they went in.  We talked about how the government doesn’t really take care of the vets, and how long it takes to even get an appointment to be seen at the Veteran’s Hospitals throughout the country.

They asked who gets the new sleeping bags (and nylon stuff sack) and I told them that VFP tries to find the most needy homeless downtown and offers them the sleeping bag sets. Some vets take them; others turn them down.  Most are very grateful for them because they are truly “sleeping on the streets”; on the cold sidewalks, or in doorways.  That day we had our first rain; it didn’t amount to much downtown, but it was still cold and windy.  I asked Gil Field and Stan Levin of VFP how their supply is holding out and I was informed that they are getting very low as the winter approaches.

I asked how much they cost and was surprised they only cost $33 each, and 100% of donations go to purchasing the bags. VFP takes NOTHING for their time and effort of distributing the bags.

So…in the holiday spirit and each of us helping others, if you would like to make a donation of any amount to VFP it would be greatly appreciated.  You can go to www.SDVFP.org or mail a check to SDVFP at 13805 Royal Melbourne Square, San Diego, CA 92128.  If you have any questions, you can call 858-342-1964 for more information.

Perhaps you can help make a Veteran have a happier holiday because of your generosity.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Stan Levin December 6, 2018 at 3:29 pm

from my archives …
Editor:
HOMELESS ENCOUNTER
Three of us, two members of San Diego Veterans for Peace, and a guest ride-along. We are jammed into GF’s Prius, along with twenty new sleeping bags, driving slowly down South 16th street, and searching for people lying on the sidewalks. Chapter members have been here many times over the past five or six years, and have distributed over 3200 bags to unfortunates on the street.
“There’s one”. We park some distance from the spotted homeless person. One of us stays with car, while the other two make the contact.
Caution and intuition are at work now, tempered by experience. I carefully wake the sleeper up. He’s wrapped in a ratty old blanket .“Hello, sir … hello, sir”. He turns and gives us a suspicious eye. Maybe he suspects that we are the law, or evangelists, or someone aiming to hurt him. “Hello. Sorry to get you up. How you doin’ tonight?” “OK”, he says. “Where’s your stuff”? “Got stolen”.
“What are you sleeping on?” “Piece of cardboard .” “Can I give you a sleeping bag?” He’s awake now. Disbelief is written on his face. “Yeah.” “OK, hang on a minute.” I give GF a high sign “One”, and point to the person at my feet. GF is bringing over a bag. “Did you eat tonight.” “No.” We give him some food, and a pair of socks. We give him whatever help it takes to get him into bed for the night. And, if he opens up and wants to talk, we give him that, as well.
“Gotta go now, friend.” “ God bless you. Thank you.” “It’s OK, you’re welcome. Bye. Take care of yourself.” We wave. He rolls over and is not with us anymore. On to the next needy one.
Stan Levin

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Judi Curry judi curry December 6, 2018 at 6:54 pm

Heartbreaking, Stan. If the Government can send them to fight for their lives, then they damn well better take care of them when they return, sometimes only half of what they were when they left!

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