“Vet Hunters is truly a grassroots non-profit organization. We are a group of selfless volunteers who go out into the community and help our Veterans who have been misplaced through homelessness. No Veteran should ever be on the streets after he or she has made the ultimate sacrifice in serving our country.” That’s how the Vet Hunters Project describes itself.
Based in Los Angeles, but having a nation-wide reach, Vet Hunters’ goal is to seek out homeless veterans living on the streets of America’s cities. Quoting an article from TV station KCET, “VHP provides veterans with necessities such as food, clothing, funds and blankets. It also provides housing for the forgotten veterans, either in a home to call their own or in a fellow veteran’s home. VHP is a search and rescue operation – a team of volunteer veterans search for homeless veterans on the streets, under bridges, alleys, riverbed and abandoned buildings. When the team finds a homeless veteran, it provides the necessary supplies. The volunteer team is comprised of veterans who have fought in Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan. ”
The soldier who started this work is combat veteran Joe Leal. He served in the Army in both Bosnia and Iraq. After his time in combat Joe continued to serve in the Army, helping veterans make the often difficult transition from combat to civilian life.
Having been homeless himself when he was young, he knows the feeling, the difficulties, the uncertainty that is being homeless. That experience, his work with transitioning vets, and his deep sense of service have combined to become the driving force behind his work with Vet Hunters.
With no government funding and no red tape, they can move quickly but they could also user our support. Information about making tax-deductible donations of vehicles and cash can be found on their website, http://vethungers.org.
As Leal says in the video linked above, “Everybody has the opportunity to go out and effect positive change in their community…we all have time to do something.” I can’t agree with him more. What will you do?