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February 8, 2019
Charity Campaign Benefits Veterans

Charity Campaign Benefits Veterans

The NIH community recently demonstrated its support of the nation’s veterans, donating more than 306 new boots, shoes and other winter items (socks, scarfs, hats and gloves) during the “Walk in Their Footsteps” campaign, which ran from Nov. 2 through Jan. 4. Donations benefit homeless veterans and veterans transitioning to stable housing and their families in the Washington, D.C., area.

The NIH veterans recruitment and reten­tion force (VRF) piloted the initiative with its counterpart at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The new boots and other items were distributed to the Washington Veterans Affairs Medical Center during its annual Winterhaven stand-down event on Jan. 26.

This NIH pilot program was led by VRF member Toni Calzone of NIAAA and had the support of the Office of Human Resources, Client Services Division. VRF members who hosted a collection site included: Jill Bartholomew, NCI; Donna Dassen, CC; Heather Hanson, NIAID; Jayne Lura-Brown, NIDCR; and Cathy Troutman, NHLBI.

The number of veterans experiencing homelessness increased in 2018. On any given night, more than 40,000 veterans experience homelessness, staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs or living in places not meant for human habitation. Many are also in need of basic clothing items. A pair of new boots or shoes can make a difference in getting to a medical appointment, attending an employment interview or taking employment training. The campaign provided a way of positively affecting lives and giving comfort to those who’ve served the country.

For more information about the VRF, contact Mitzi.Kosciulek@nih.gov.

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