News / USA

US Veterans Mark Holiday by Serving Meals to Homeless Vets

US Veterans Mark Holiday by Serving Meals to Homeless Vetsi
X
November 12, 2013 11:35 PM
A U.S. non-profit group has marked Veterans Day by bringing military veteran volunteers to a Washington church to prepare and serve meals for the homeless - many of whom are fellow veterans. VOA's Michael Lipin went to Miriam's Kitchen to see how it is helping those veterans and other homeless people get their life back on track.
A U.S. non-profit group has marked Veterans Day by bringing acting and retired military officers to a Washington, D.C. church to prepare meals for the homeless, many of whom are fellow veterans.
 
Seven veterans were among a group of 20 volunteers who gathered at 6:00 a.m. on Monday in the capital's Foggy Bottom neighborhood to serve breakfast to more than 100 people.
 
Acting Coast Guard officer Clint Trocchio said he feels obligated to help.
 
"Like many other vets, we come in today to give back to some of the other veterans who are suffering from chronic homelessness here in Washington, D.C.," Trocchio said.
 
Non-profit group Miriam's Kitchen has been setting up meals for Washington's homeless for 30 years.
 
Operating out of the Western Presbyterian Church, it provides services to thousands of homeless people.
 
On a mission
 
Former Air Force pilot Hugo Schmidt also volunteered at the kitchen to honor fellow vets who lost their homes.
 
"I'm hoping that it will convince them there are people who care - about them. I'd just like them to know that somebody is considering their well-being," said Schmidt.
 
Just before the meal service began, Miriam's Kitchen chef Steve Badt rallied his troops.
 
"We have a great meal today," Badt told the volunteers. "Remember, our goal here is to end chronic homelessness. So thank you very much for coming."
 
The menu included buttermilk pancakes with a side of fresh berry sauce, eggs with cream cheese, salmon and onions, and green salad donated by local farmers markets.
 
The National Alliance to End Homelessness says veterans make up about 10 percent of the homeless population in the United States.
 
The Obama administration says there were 62,000 homeless veterans in the country when it last conducted a survey, in January 2012. It says that figure represented a 17 percent decline since 2009.
 
Miriam's Kitchen says homeless veterans tend to be on the streets longer than other homeless people, and often struggle with disabilities like mental illness.
 
"Sometimes it's easy for them to fall through the cracks," said Badt. "And that's where Miriam's steps in. Miriam's is a home for so many homeless, vets included. It's a temporary home, and our goal is to try to give them a permanent home. It's a place where they can have dignity; it's a place where they can feel like they belong to a community."
 
Overcoming adversity
 
One homeless veteran who said he benefited from that community is Jeff Gilliam of Los Angeles.
 
"I've been with Miriam's for a couple of years, and I've come a long way from being homeless now to getting my place in the next several weeks. None of it could have happened without the staff here," Gilliam said.
 
The Navy veteran said drug and alcohol abuse contributed to the loss of his original home. Now he is clean and sober, thanks to Miriam’s and counseling services provided by the federal government.
 
"The help is out there. It is there, and you have to be proactive, and that's where I'm coming from, more so than just resting on my laurels, so to speak," said Gilliam.
 
President Barack Obama has set a goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015. He hopes to achieve this through offering veterans a combination of services, including health care, housing assistance, job training and education.
 
Advocates say giving homeless people a positive start to the day with a healthy breakfast improves their prospects of eventually living independently. They say that will reduce the cost of homelessness to society as a whole.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threati
X
Greg Flakus
May 29, 2015 11:24 PM
Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video Texas Town Residents Told to 'Just Leave' Ahead of Flood Threat

Water from heavy rain in eastern and central Texas is now swelling rivers that flow into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening towns along their banks. VOA’s Greg Flakus visited the town of Wharton, southwest of Houston, where the Colorado River is close to cresting.
Video

Video New York's One World Trade Center Observatory Opens to Public

From New Jersey to Long Island, from Northern suburbs to the Atlantic Ocean, with all of New York City in-between.  That view became available to the public Friday as the One World Trade Center Observatory opened in New York -- atop the replacement for the buildings destroyed in the September 11, 2001, attacks.  VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.

VOA Blogs