The South Florida Red Cross celebrated Veterans Day by delivering hope to homeless and at-risk veterans in West Palm Beach. In partnership with the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center, the Red Cross honored veterans for their service by donating 100 “Totes of Hope” backpacks to local veterans in need.
The Totes of Hope initiative is a personal care kit drive in which items for homeless and at-risk veterans are collected, assembled in a waterproof backpack and distributed through veterans hospitals or veterans outreach programs. These totes provided to veterans contain items like hygiene products, bottled water, a poncho, activity books and other care items to ensure that their basic needs do not go unmet.
For nearly 140 years, the Red Cross has supported military and veteran communities, including supporting World War I soldiers through the 1918 flu pandemic. During this unprecedented time in the nation’s history, the South Florida Red Cross continues to bring hope to the nation’s heroes through this initiative, a program that has provided comfort and relief to local veterans for the past seven years.
“We are proud to honor veterans and celebrate Veterans Day each year by donating these Totes of Hope,” Heidi O’Sheehan said. “This project is but one example of how the Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Department carries out its mission of providing care and comfort to service members, veterans and military families. We sincerely hope that each veteran that receives these items will know that their service is appreciated and will never be forgotten.”
Generally, the Red Cross has a robust and active volunteer program with the West Palm Beach VA by providing volunteers to support care package distribution and participate in the medical center’s events, like baby showers, Veterans Patient Week, monthly hospice breakfasts, art and garden therapy sessions, and more.
This year, due to COVID-19, the Red Cross suspended in-person volunteer activities but continues to support the VA’s initiatives virtually by the generous donations provided by the community.
Every day, the Red Cross provides 24/7 global emergency communication services and support in military and veteran healthcare facilities across the country and around the world. To learn more about the Service to the Armed Forces Department and how they support military members, veterans and their families, visit www.redcross.org/saf.
For veterans or members of the armed forces in need of assistance, call (877) 272-7337 or download the American Red Cross Hero Care app at www.redcross.org/apps.