VA donation drive collects items for Veterans and families


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Veterans Month and National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week mark the conclusion of a three-month collection drive organized by VA’s Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction (OALC) to support our nation’s Veterans. OALC collected donations from Aug. 12 – Nov. 12 for the Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC) of the Washington DC VA Medical Center (DC VAMC) to help Veterans in the metropolitan area who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

OALC’s collection drive is a follow-up to a smaller Veterans service project undertaken in 2017 by one of OALC’s sections, the Procurement Policy and Warrant Management Service (PPS). The 2017 collection drive was led by members of the PPS holiday planning committee following a tour of the CRRC. During the tour, committee members learned about the diverse services the facility offers to homeless Veterans, such as a computer lab, social work services, laundry and shower rooms, and a host of community resources.

No Better Place

The CRRC is the first facility of its kind in the Washington, D.C. area that is open seven days a week and 24 hours a day. It’s one of 31 VA CRRCs across the nation and serves approximately 70 Veterans per day — nearly 500 per week. The PPS holiday committee members decided there was no better place to help Veterans.

“A day after PPS’s “Holiday Party with a Purpose,” we delivered several bags filled with donated items to the CRRC,” said Barbara Matos, then a PPS Program Analyst and now executive assistant at the Office of Procurement Policy, Systems, and Oversight at VA. “Items included new thermal underwear, socks, personal hygiene items, tins of holiday cookies, a variety of nonperishable foods, and cases of water.”

For this year’s larger collection drive, the CRRC provided a wish list of items that Veterans need most.

The list included nonperishable foods, kitchen items, toiletries, personal hygiene items, men’s and women’s clothing, school supplies, and holiday gifts for the Veterans’ children. Matos, the 2019 OALC-VA CRRC Collection Event lead coordinator, said she was inspired to put her long-dormant craft skills to work, hand-knitting and crocheting 15 hats and scarves, and packaging each with a note that reads “Handmade for a Veteran with Thanks on Veterans Day and Every Day for Your Service to Our Nation!”

All in

A total of 2,100 items were donated at seven collection stations located at 810 Vermont Avenue, NW, and 425 I Street, NW, in Washington, D.C.  In addition to assisting Veterans, the project also helped involve VA staff who don’t frequently interact with Veterans an appreciation for the challenges that homeless Veterans face.

Karen Brazell, OALC Principal Executive Director and VA Chief Acquisition Officer, was heartened by the generosity of the donors and said that, “This drive showed the VA’s I-CARE values of Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence at work.” Matos echoed her sentiments, further stating that, “It is a privilege to be of service to those who sacrificed so much for our great nation.”

OALC’s Office of Logistics Policy and Supply Chain Management, Operations Analysis Division (OAD), in Hines, IL, held a collection event for the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center’s CRRC September 16 through October 18.  “I believe getting behind the initiatives that are important to our organization and its leadership, helps to show our solidarity and support for our Veterans,” said Susette Davis, OAD Lead Management Analyst and CRRC Collection Coordinator for the Hines, Ill., event.

Brazell and her team have challenged all VA organizations to undertake similar drives for homeless Veterans in their communities and strive to exceed the amount that OALC collected this year.

Organizations interested in accepting OALC’s donation drive challenge can email the VA Homeless Programs Office at HomelessVets@va.gov for help getting started.  


Barbara Matos is an executive assistant in VA’s Office of Procurement Policy Systems and Oversight.

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Comments

  1. cool    

    The VA takes every chance to make it look like the veterans themselves are to blame for their homelessness. I fought for the better part of 3 1/2 years as an Air Force pilot in Vietnam, first based on Okinawa and then in Vietnam, extending my tour voluntarily twice. I received my honorable discharge in 1968, and for more than 50 years, I have not had one real job opportunity of any kind in the United States. The law says that I should have all kinds of rights to employment preference by the civil service and affirmative action by private contractors, but the Feres Doctrine prevents me from taking any action in the courts if the veterans’ laws are broken. In 1998, the Special Counsel forced the USDA Forest Service to hire me after two of its employees offered me $20,000 if I would “voluntary” withdraw from a Federal civil service selection in Alaska so that a much less qualified non-veteran could be selected. The offer of this job caused me to move from Germany at great cost, but after a few months, the Forest Service crooks broke their word and dismissed me in reprisal for reporting their bribe offer. I was never homeless and was able to raise three children only because I left the United States after earning a Master’s Degree and earned my Doctor of Natural Sciences degree and successfully completed my Habilitation in Germany. I also worked for almost six years in Brazil and could have been sponsored by Germany for a professorship in Argentina or Uruguay if I had changed my citizenship from American to that of a country in the European Union. I also have an American airline transport pilot’s license with more than 5300 flying hours and speak fluently in German, Portuguese, Thai, and Lao. I have also translated the better part of a book on freshwater fishes from Russian to English for publication and scored highest on more than 50 federal civil service examinations, most at the level of GS-15. The Office of Personnel Management illegally denied me veterans’ preference points on many of the examinations, but I still had the highest score on most. The Federal government simply broke the law and hired a non-veterans with lower scores for each vacancy. As a Vietnam veteran, I found I was wasting my time applying to American colleges and universities, where watchful Communists eliminate all war vets from consideration for jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor breaks the law by refusing to take action against those violating the Federal contract by excluding veterans from their faculties. It has also made a rule that only jobs paying less than $25,000 per year should be classified as “suitable for veterans.” My wife and I am now living on my 20% service-connected disability pension from the VA because of diabetes Type 2, which was caused by my exposure to TCDD in the herbicides used in Vietnam, which I was exposed to for most of 3 1/2 years. My chances of getting any job in the United States has been 0% since I received my honorable discharge in 1968, so my actual disability, as defined in several Supreme Court decisions under the Americans with Disabilities Act, would be 100%. The VA does not need to assemble a committee to study the homelessness of veterans. The reason is malfeasance and corruption of the Federal and state agencies funded to promptly find career employment for veterans immediately after discharge.

  2. laura    

    I am trying to follow up on event in November 2019 out at HIne Edward Hine Hospital on a saturday for veteran furniture gave alway I was there and I pick a item out and I haven’t receive it yet I was looking to get it before thanksgiving

  3. Robert Taylor    

    There are so many deserving veterans without help many who are too proud to ask. Fortunately some people take their time to really help such as the above program.

    I was blessed to get the VA to pay for my teeth. Now 82 and they’re worn out before the VA helped. I partly support my daughter and her husband who are disabled so money isn’t plentiful.

    I served 6 years and Missed Viet namn. I still remember the other services talk about their hell over there I can’t even go to the memorial without depression from that war. So many gave their all and even today there are too many people who think it was a picnic.

  4. King monada mp3    

    Homelessness sucks.. am glad to see we are making progress

    1. Matthew    

      Wow. 24 hours a day, sevens day a week supporting our nation’s finest. Maybe you can teach the rest of the Va’s how to do it. Makes me grateful that our tax dollars are going to actual programs that we care about. Kudos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I’m even more grateful that someone with a real servants heart realizes that our veterans need support around the clock. Good job, good job, good job!!

  5. Arnold Cabral    

    To Veterans who read this email your Senators or Representative contract Veteran Affairs Committee passed a new Veteran Benefit Law who is 100 percent service connected has a Dentist know how to G4 implants for free because they don’t have a contract with Veteran Administration or Veteran Medical Centers and if a Disabled Veterans who is 100 percent service connected doesn’t get the G4 implants it would cause really bad Gums Disease also it cause really bad Health Problems and really possibly cause Cancer and Veterans who don’t what G4implants asked Veteran Medical Center Dentist……Semper Fi

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