Courtesy of HSD
Homeless Stand Down (HSD), a northeast Ohio-based program geared toward helping veterans and homeless with needs, celebrated its 31st anniversary this year. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it was unclear whether the program would return to its original in-person status. Thankfully the program received the greenlight, and has since been recruiting volunteers and urging the community to donate. The HSD event will take place on April 23 at FirstEnergy Stadium in downtown Cleveland, where 1,500 guests dealing with homelessness will receive amenities and be connected to various social programs.
HSD provides essential goods and services to individuals who may not have access to them otherwise. The program started with simple donations, such as shoes and spare clothing. But from 2014 to 2020, “[the event had o]n-site service providers… [they were] offering cancer screenings, mammogram check ups, housing and legal aid and much more. Guests of the event were able to [choose] either a new winter coat or pair of boots along with hygiene items, hats, gloves, scarves, socks, underwear and other essential items.”
Given the sheer amount of resource donations, volunteers are vital in keeping the program running. Specifically, volunteers can help with setup, cleanup and the distribution of meals along with much more; there are 18 different roles that volunteers help out with to keep operations running. But for this year’s event, only a few volunteer spots are still available for those who want to help out—there has been a lot of support from the community.
For those who still want to help but are unable to volunteer, there are still ways to support the initiative. Individuals can make set donations, ranging from $25 for a pair of boots to $5,000 dollars for 1,000 bagged lunches. The option also exists to donate whatever amount you would like towards the event. There are also collection drive establishments across the community that accept hygiene, clothing and care items.
HSD presents a great opportunity to not only engage in the community, but also make a tangible impact in the lives of the homeless community here in northeast Ohio. With a wide range of items and important services being provided, it’s a valuable resource that has, and will continue to support many individuals in need.
For those interested, the full list of opportunities, volunteer and donations, can be found at https://volunteerconnect.bvuvolunteers.org/homelessstanddown.