GreaterGood.org Visits Veterans Village to Help Homeless Veterans and Their Pets — GreaterGood.org : GreaterGood.org

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GreaterGood.org Visits Veterans Village to Help Homeless Veterans and Their Pets

As we continue our mission to deliver backpacks for veterans and their pets across the country, we stopped by Veterans Village in San Diego (VVSD).

Veterans Village’s mission is to help veterans overcome homelessness and related challenges. They do so by providing shelter, resources, and support to San Diego County’s homeless veteran population.

“There’s a lot of magic that happens here on our campus, I see veterans come in who have lost everything—who have lost all connection with family, all connection with community, dealing with mental health challenges, dealing with addiction challenges, but with the proper tools and the resources, they are [able to] regain that hope and that pride that I know still exists,” said Kim Mitchell, President and CEO of VVSD.

Mitchell says that a lot of the veterans that come through the shelter are those finding it hard to adjust back to a familiar life and that backpacks with essential supplies are often the first step back to some normalcy for them.

“When you’re in the military, you have a network, where you are told what to do, you have uniforms to wear so you know exactly what you’re gonna wear every day. You have things provided for you,” Mitchell explains, “When you transition out, and if you don’t have that outside network, or you don’t have those resources, and you don’t have someone telling you what to do every day, sometimes it’s hard to gain your footing on the ground.”

One of those veterans is John Bryant. Bryant enlisted in the Navy at a young age and when he returned to civilian life at 22, he felt lost. He says that it took a while to figure out what he wanted to do with his life.

“[Being at Veterans Village] has quite honestly changed my life. It has taken me from the depths of despair and confusion to [being] a wonderful human being with goals, and ambitions, and just a desire to live,” Bryant said.

Bryant added that donations like these help him and other veterans feel empowered and give them the opportunity to love their pets again.

Danelle Harrington, Intake Coordinator, and former VVSD alumni knows how important a pet can be on the path to recovery. Harrington suffers from dissociative PTSD, and her service dog Rambo has helped her through anxiety-inducing situations or environments.

Unfortunately, Harrington says she didn’t have Rambo during her VVSD stay the first time around and says that with a dog by her side, the emotional stress of staying sober would have been a lot easier to handle.

“So many times you see so many animals on the streets with their owners, and it’s so tragic. They really want to take care of their animals; they can’t imagine not being with their animal. They would do anything, and it doesn’t matter that they’re homeless, they’re going to keep that animal with them because that’s their lifeline. It is an amazing thing that you guys are doing. It will help so many people,” Harrington said about the backpacks.

You can help. Just $5 covers the cost of delivering one backpack to a U.S. Veteran and their pet. Donate today.


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Published on, October 29, 2019