Homeless get food, clothing at outreach program
About 40 homeless veterans showed up at the Carson City Community Center on Friday for the Stand Down outreach offered by the American Legion and the Veterans Administration.
They ate sandwiches, had their hair cut, got warm clothing and registered for access to benefits.
“The homeless got fed and they got clothed – it was fantastic,” said Joseph Canyon, commander of High Desert Post 56 of the American Legion.
It was the first Stand Down held in Carson City, he said. The events, named for when troops are pulled back from the front for rest and resupply, are held twice a year in Reno.
“It’s great – it makes the whole month,” said Paul McClellan, a homeless man from Omaha, Neb. He had his gray beard trimmed and got a warm pea-coat, several bags of military surplus clothing and a sandwich.
“They’re going to put me on a bicycle and get me a job, since I don’t have a car anymore,” said McClellan, who’s been homeless for about three years.
Some homeless people are afraid to come to outreach events because they think police will be waiting to question them, Canyon said.
“We’re trying to build their confidence and their trust,” he said.
It is believed more people will show up if the event becomes annual.
“We’re expecting that as we do more of these the word will spread and more people will come,” said Paula Rowles, a social worker with the Veterans Administration’s Health Car for Homeless Veterans program.
The sandwiches were donated by Port of Subs.
“They have really helped us out,” said Susie Spotted Horse, also a social worker with Health Care for Homeless Veterans. “They have supported every one of our Stand Downs.”
Cutting hair Friday was Vietnam veteran and American Legion member Brian O’Connell. He retired from cutting hair about 20 years ago but keeps his license active.
Another Stand Down will be offered in Reno in February. For information, call 328-1761.
Members of American Legion High desert Post 56 offer free coffee and soup to homeless people in Mills Park from 9 to 11 a.m. every Saturday and Sunday.
Contact Karl Horeis at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 881-1219.