93-Year Old Veteran for Peace Hands Out Group’s 5,000th Sleeping Bag to Homeless

by on November 7, 2022 · 2 comments

in Homelessness, San Diego, Veterans

Stan Levin

By Diane Bell / San Diego Union-Tribune 

When Stan Levin encountered a homeless man in a wheelchair behind a Denny’s last month, he did what he always does. He started a conversation. As they chatted, he asked the fellow if he was sleeping on the ground and needed a sleeping bag. What he wanted at that moment, though, was a meal.

“Go in and tell the cashier what you want for breakfast and I’ll pick up the tab,” Levin replied. While the stranger was ordering, Levin walked to his car and came back with a sleeping bag to give to him.

For more than a decade, he has been part of small coterie of U.S. veterans dedicated to making those who are down and out on their luck a little more comfortable living on the streets of San Diego by handing out sleeping bags. They represent San Diego Veterans for Peace, a chapter of National Veterans for Peace, and this is their personal Compassion Campaign.

On the evening of Oct. 17, Levin, who is 93 and unable to make these humanitarian missions as often as in the past, was given the honor of handing out the 5,000th sleeping bag.

Rico Santiago was barely visible under a dirt-streaked cotton coverlet on a cold concrete sidewalk next to a building near San Diego City College. Gary Butterfield, wearing a blue Veterans for Peace (VFP) T-shirt approached him quietly and talked to him. Santiago told him he was a vet and had joined the Army in 1982. Smiling a toothy grin, he appreciatively accepted a pair of socks, a granola bar and some hand sanitizer which, he said, repels the bedbugs.

Then Levin presented him a new sleeping bag rolled up like a giant Tootsie Roll, along with a nylon duffle bag for storage.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Judi November 7, 2022 at 12:43 pm

Thanks for publishing this Frank. Stan and the other Veterans for Peace that give up the warmth of their own homes to help others be more comfortable are to be commended.


Gilbert E Field November 9, 2022 at 8:12 am

Stan Levin is an inspiration to us all.
What will you be doing at 93 ?


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