Since the start of the pandemic, as is the same for many of our community partners, we, the Service to the Armed Forces Department, have had to change the way we conduct our daily business and how we continue to support our Military community safely. However, it wasn’t that simple. What we experienced was the increase of unemployment, the decrease of essential resources (food, household items) and the increase of trauma.
The West LA VA Medical Center, a supportive community partner to the American Red Cross Los Angeles Region, decided to address these issues head-on. Bringing together several organizations, the VA hosted a meeting to discuss and try to find a solution for this cry for help.
We came to the consensus that providing a food drive would help our military community, and with that, we set up monthly food drives. It took a lot of coordination, and when we had the first one and saw the response, we knew we had made the right direction. More than 150 veterans came through the line.
The committee of partners is still working together to fill the gap and alleviate some of the hardship the military community is suffering. We not only provide food; toys were also handed out during the holidays for families with children. We also handed out hygiene items, essential household items, food cards and much more.
As the pandemic continues and many of us anxiously wait for a vaccination shot, the committee of partners will continue its efforts to help veterans every month.