WUFT News

Gainesville Stand Down Event Offers Homeless Veterans Food, Social Services

By on November 1st, 2013
Homeless veterans congregate at the second day of the 12th annual Alachua County Homeless Veterans Stand Down.

Carla Bayron/WUFT News

Homeless veterans congregate at the second day of the 12th annual Alachua County Homeless Veterans Stand Down.

Homeless veterans gathered at a Gainesville recreation center Friday morning for the second day of the 12th Annual Alachua County Homeless Veterans Stand Down Event.

The two-day event that was held at the Martin Luther King Jr. Multipurpose Center aimed to offer homeless veterans with a one-stop shop of helpful services.

Stand Downs are collaborative events organized for homeless veterans that can provide food, clothing, counseling, and referrals to a variety of other necessary services, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. The first stand down was organized in 1988.

Many agencies, including FloridaWorks, St. Francis House, and Alachua County Social Services participated in the event and offered their various services to veterans who are struggling with their transition from life on the field to everyday life at home.

As volunteers passed out bags filled with clothing, beanies and other essentials, veterans were able to receive free hair cuts, eat a hot breakfast and meet with service providers.

Donald Ravingfeather, a 12-year Marine Veteran,  attended the event.

After an accident while serving, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and was discharged. He had no follow up treatment or support from the military.

“I went on a downhill spiral from there, because I’ve always had structure in my life from the military,” he said. “I had no structure after that, and I really didn’t know how to cope with society.”

Ravingfeather attended the event to visit the booths offering various social services, and he received information about food stamps and support programs.

“For me, coming out of prison and all of that, this event is very beneficial for my re-entry and transition into society,” he added.

Mary Jane Deedrick, senior counselor at the Alachua County Veteran Services Office, said the program has been very successful.

“Veterans have the opportunity to meet providers face to face in one location and to receive help,” she said.

Deedrick said a planning committee has already scheduled to meet at the start of 2014 to begin planning the next Homeless Veterans Stand Down event.


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

Tygur Scott, the 34-year-old lead advocate coordinator in Dignity Village, picks up trash littering the village's wash basin area. Scott, alongside his group of volunteers known as community advocates, works to keep Dignity Village clean and mediate disputes between residents whenever they might arise.

Resident Volunteers Keep Dignity Village Standing

Community volunteers, like Tygur Scott, help clean and maintain Dignity Village. Dignity Village’s future is not clear, but the volunteer group’s work helps until the city figures out how to manage the tent neighborhood, according to Lieutenant Rob Koehler of the Gainesville City Police Department.


Troy Butler, former UF football player, said, "Why am I going to waste time on a bust when I can go on my bike twice as fast?"

Gainesville Riders Hope To Start Bike-Sharing Program

Shane Hartley and Troy Butler choose to ride their bikes to work because they know the health and environmental benefits of biking. In order to unite people like them, the Gainesville Citizens for Active Transportation want to start a bike-sharing program.


The finale kicked off shortly before 10 p.m. and for many launched the holiday weekend. (Will England/WUFT News)

Photos: Scenes from Fanfares and Fireworks 2015

The 2015 Fanfares and Fireworks celebration, hosted by the UF College of Journalism and Communications, drew more than 10,000 to the campus July 3.


Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Unexpected Fireworks Leave Some Veterans On Edge

Veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder may face obstacles during the holiday weekend. Military With PTSD, a nonprofit organization, has started a campaign to help educate people about the effects of fireworks on people with PTSD.


The confederate soldier statue stands outside of the Alachua County Administration Building. Due to recent controversy in the nation, the monument's downtown location is raising concern for the local community.

Protesters Appeal To City Commission Over Confederate Statue

Protesters seeking to remove the downtown statue of the Confederate soldier spoke to city officials for the first time since the campaign began in late June. This is the first of several efforts that will go on over the next two weeks among protesters who call for the County Commission to take down the statue.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Underwriting Payments