WEST PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - “I served my country, served Pennsylvania and I’m here for my veterans’ benefits,” said Doris Thomas.
Thomas, a local Army veteran, is one of several hundred veterans excited to take advantage of the 25th Annual Philadelphia Stand Down event.
“We’re here for our medical, our healthcare. They’re supposed to help us get our VA benefits and help us get back on our feet,” Thomas stated.
Stand Down set up a one-stop shop event at the VA Hospital in West Philadelphia to help veterans get what they need: clothing, food, medical exams, counseling, employment services and more.
“They need to know that we’re here. Somebody’s out there. Somebody’s got their back,” said director of Philadelphia Stand Down Ed Speller.
Veterans at the event say one of the biggest issues for them is housing.
“Too many vets are on the street. Too many,” said Wayne Williams.
“If you fight for America, how can you be homeless?" Phil Sullivan asked. "There shouldn’t be homeless vets."
The veterans say, in general, adjusting to life post-deployment is a huge challenge. They’re asking everyone at home to listen.
“Military people served and lived all over the country and you’re supposed to work with employers and organizations that are military and veteran friendly,” Thomas explained.
Organizers say each year, nonprofits jump at the chance to set up a table and help reach this critical population. Stand Down says it wants to help as many veterans as it can.
“So that there’s no vet left behind. No vet not being served,” Speller said.
“I think it’s a great event. I think it needs to be done more often. More follow up. More closely guarded,” said Williams.
Stand Down is a volunteer led nonprofit dedicated to providing aid to all veterans in the Delaware Valley. Donations are always welcome. They can be sent to Stand Down 520 Quincy Avenue, Penndel, Pennsylvania 19047.
For more information on Philadelphia Stand Down, see here.