We have all seen commercials with the starving children in some far-off country asking us to give just a few cents a day to change a child’s life forever. We’ve seen equally touching ads with rock stars singing their hearts out for abused and neglected animals. Our mailboxes are filled with direct mail showing photos of sad, scruffy homeless people eating a bowl of soup and asking for just a few dollars so they can stay warm and safe in a shelter at night.
If you are like most people, you feel bad for a moment, then change the channel or toss the mail in the recycle bin and go on about your day. That is, until the holidays, when we somehow feel more inclined to help our fellow man. And if we don’t already have a passion project, we start looking more closely at those ads and mail appeals. Looking for a worthy cause…Well, this is Plaid for Women, so how about helping some of the strongest women in the country?
Over 131,000 veterans are homeless in the USA and 10% of them are women. The number of female veterans who are homeless is rising, and many of them have children. That means about 1 in 5 homeless persons you pass on the street (and try not to make eye contact with) defended your freedom.
Why? Women have taken increasingly dangerous assignments in the military, resulting in injuries and trauma at higher levels than ever before. Female veterans are returning home to find that they must begin to cope with mental injuries like PTSD, rape by fellow soldiers, and spouses who abandon them.
For many, this means a slow spiral into depression, homelessness, and sometimes substance abuse. Gee, aren’t I just a ray of sunshine? Well there is some good news.
The VA is working to provide services to homeless veterans across the country with special programs for female veterans. Volunteers are opening group homes and other non-profits to support female veterans who are homeless and help them get back on their feet. Cities have begun to take the issue of homelessness seriously, and even in these challenging economic times, funds are set aside for programs to provide housing and support services to the homeless.
November is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month. As we prepare to give thanks for our friends and families, stuff ourselves, and take a long nap, let us also remember those who sacrificed to protect our freedom.
Better yet, find a local homeless shelter with a good reputation and write a generous check to their general operating fund. Deliver it in person and ask for a tour of the facility. See where your heart leads you…who knows? You might just find a new volunteer project to be passionate about!
Would you like to know how you can become a member of Plaid for Women? Click here for information!