The Lincoln Community Foundation has found partnering with local Veterans Affairs offices and human services agencies to be an effective way to serve military families and veterans in need.
We recently participated in our third Project Homeless Connect event held in conjunction with a Stand Down sponsored by the Veterans Affairs Nebraska- Western Iowa Health Care System. Stand Downs are one to three day events hosted by local VA offices in collaboration with other government and community organizations. These events provide an array of services including food, clothing, health screenings, benefits assistance and referrals. Volunteers from the Nebraska Air and Army National Guard assist event guests who are veterans and help them find services they may not otherwise have access to or know about.
Many Veterans in need don't want a hand-out, just some assistance. The Food Bank of Lincoln recognized that their Mobile Pantry Program could easily be used to serve military families and veterans in helping them through times of need. The Food Bank partnered with the VA Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System to host a food pantry for veterans which is located at the VA out-patient clinic in Lincoln. The Lincoln Community Foundation provided initial funding to launch this program. The pantry, which is open the first Monday of every month, leverages a network of community volunteers, government agencies and community organizations to serve veterans and military families.
These are great examples of taking existing community programs and adding a veteran focused component to enhance outreach and engagement with those in need.
VP for Community Outreach Lincoln Community Foundation, Inc.