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Volunteers stuff backpacks to help homeless veterans

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    BELLEVUE, NE (KPTM) — Monday people across the country will take time to honor the men and women who have served in the United States armed forces. In Bellevue, a group of volunteers is working to show appreciation to a group of veterans that are often left out of the celebration.

Volunteers from the Bellevue University Military Veterans Services Center (MVSC) are creating personal care backpacks to help homeless veterans living in the area.

Bellevue University Military Veterans Services Center Director, and Air Force Veteran Jerome Richardson said the backpacks are given to veterans in need, who might have a hard time reaching out for help.

“I think what makes the veteran population a little different is because of that initial training that they’ve had. They are going to be less apt to ask for help and more apt to either self-medicate or find ways of adapting, overcoming and just providing for themselves,” Richardson said.

Richardson said the backpacks are filled with donated items needed to help the veterans living on the streets.

“It’s going to have a new hat, new gloves, a scarf , some hand warmers; It’s going to have some toiletry items that they need and some snacks, things that get them started and a nice pack to put things in that they might be utilizing throughout the day,” Richardson said.

This is the fourth year MVSC has donated care packages to homeless veterans at the Siena Francis House. MVSC plans to donate approximately 70 backpacks to veterans on Monday. This year 65 backpacks are needed for men and 5 backpacks are needed for women.

The Siena Francis House will also have a special dinner Monday to honor their veteran patrons.

“Many of these veterans, because they are homeless and are out living on the streets, they don’t belong to organizations that are being recognized for their service, or in the community where they are being recognized for their service,” Richardson said. “Sometimes that is inspiring in and of itself to know that there are people out there that care, and do recognize and appreciate what they have done as members of the armed services.”

Volunteers from MVSC will be collecting donations for their care packages until the end of the business day Thursday and monetary donations until noon on Friday.

Cash donations will be used to purchase missing items needed to complete the backpack care package. Richardson said any additional donations not used to fill backpacks will be donated to the Sienna Francis House to help purchase supplies throughout the year.

Richardson said the MVSC is still looking for donations, the items most needed are thick gloves, hats, scarves and deodorant. Item donations can be dropped off at the MVSC at 2108 Harvell Circle. Monetary donations can be made here (“MVSC Backpack Drive” must be written in the comments portion).

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