Agencies help vets for Stand Down

Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 3:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 3:39 p.m.

Some veterans in Gainesville are still at war, battling every day to find food and shelter, but the 12th annual Alachua County Homeless Veterans Stand Down aims to bring them some respite.



* What: The 12th annual Alachua County Homeless Veterans Stand Down.

* When: Noon-4 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday.

* Where: King Center, 1028 NE 14th St.

* Information: Call 352-264-6740.

Nearly 20 social service agencies and nonprofits, including FloridaWorks, St. Francis House and Alachua County Social Services, will be at the event, which will be held from noon to 4 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the King Center at 1028 NE 14th St.

Mary Jane Deedrick, interim county veteran services director and event coordinator, said veterans will be able to get a hot meal, haircut and supplies.

"There will be lunch on Thursday and breakfast on Friday prepared by The Salvation Army," she said. "Usually, in the beginning of cold weather, we try to hand out some blankets and socks and boots to help the veterans."

Deedrick added that the veterans service office did not receive grants this year for the event, which means they cannot give veterans nonperishable foods.

Phyllis Marty, FloridaWorks senior program manager, said the event allows veterans to meet with agency representatives they might not otherwise be able to reach because of a lack of transportation.

"Everything will be provided for them at one place," she said.

The Stand Down is derived from the military term for a period when soldiers return from the frontlines to get some rest and resupply, Deedrick explained.

Edward Martin, a local veteran and FloridaWorks employment representative, said he enjoys how the event is kept in the same spirit of military stand downs.

"They get to come, reset and get their life back on track," Martin said. "It's really great to see service providers spending time to see veterans."

Beatrice Dupuy is a Gainesville Sun correspondent.

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