A lot of veterans across Southwest Florida are struggling during the economic downturn. On Tuesday, Hearts and Homes for Veterans distributed items to any veteran who presented a valid copy of their Veteran Affairs card. They received bags of food, hygiene products and cleaning supplies.
Behind the Hearts and Homes for Veterans building in fort Myers, volunteers could be seen sorting, packing, and giving away items to those in need.
Tom Donoghue, vice president of the organization, says, “They get a couple bags of food, they get a hygiene product. You can see the stuff in the baskets are stuff we give out to sweeten the deal a little bit.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Donoghue says they had to shut down operations, but as we deal with the impacts more vets will likely be in need.
“We think with this coronavirus there’s probably a lot of people that are really hurt and people that were doing ok on their own before— right now might be struggling a little bit,” Donoghue
Like veteran Abby Pichareo, who says she’s struggling and “Right now I’m not at work, so it really helps with the groceries and other stuff they get us. It’s one less thing I have to buy.”
Veteran Kasia Borecki also came to pick up food.”It warms my heart to know that there’s people out their that actually care.”
“That’s are goal today, to get the stuff out to veterans who really need it,” Donoghue explained. “That’s what we’re trying to do today is see if we can be a part of a solution.”
Hearts and Homes plan to fully open in about a week.
They will have another distribution Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Hearts and Homes for Veterans, inc. 2230 Alicia Street, Fort Myers.
They will be distributing food items including staple items, produce, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, and paper goods (toilet paper and paper towels) to any veteran who presents a valid copy of a VA card.
Due to COVID-19, the main entrance is closed and you must follow the below instructions:
The veteran should pass the main entrance on Alicia Street and proceed to Lafayette Street, make a right turn onto lafayette and proceed to the alleyway behind the building. Turn right into that alleyway, stop and open the trunk or tailgate of the vehicle, re-enter the vehicle and proceed to the distribution point.
They ask that the veteran then remain inside the vehicle as all items are prepackaged and will be placed into the vehicle by a volunteer.