Veterans "stand-down" event at IBEW Hall on Friday
Local and national organizations come together to support veterans this week in Dorchester with Massachusetts Stand Down for Homeless & At Risk Veterans. The one-day-only event takes place on Friday August 22, 8 a.m.-6p.m. at IBEW Local 103, 256 Freeport St., Dorchester.
For over 20 years organizations like Volunteers of America and Veterans Administration have been providing countless services for homeless veterans at the Massachusetts Stand Down. In previous years, it has been a two-day event, but this year for the first time, it will all be compiled into one day.
About 80 different providers are expected to come and give their free services to at least 1,000 veterans. It will be a one-stop shopping event where veterans can get haircuts, clothing, comfort kits, dental screenings, massages, and acupuncture. They also get to see a doctor, get their eyes checked and also visit the DMV to get their licenses renewed.
Individuals from twenty housing organizations, Mass Health, social security, and food stamps also participate to help veterans sign up for their services. Different employers as well as people from state and city government are also expected to be there to assist veterans.
“These veterans love it, they deserve it and we need to do something to help. We shouldn’t have any homeless veteran,” said Gloria Ann Vieira, an organizer for the event. “It's an event that a lot of them who are at risk look forward to. And it helps a lot.”
Vieira, who is an Upham’s Corner resident says there have been a lot of veterans who have benefited from the event and come back to volunteer because they now have jobs and housing and no longer need
“That really makes me happy and it’s nice to have those success stories,” she says.
As to the term Massachusetts “stand down,” Vieira says, “It is a military term for a military person to rest and relax. We refer to [Massachusetts] Stand Down as a hand up not a handout.” The term refers to the brief period of time a soldier leaves an active combat area in order to rest and regain strength. Today, Stand Down refers to a grassroots, community based intervention program designed to help
the nation’s homeless veteran population.
For more information contact Stephanie Paauwe, of Volunteers of America at 617-522-8086.