Grand Circle Associates provide essential clothing to veterans battling homelessness
The New England Center for Homeless Veterans (NECHV) has a special place in the hearts of Grand Circle associates in Boston. The NECHV serves more than 1,000 veterans a year—veterans who have battled substance abuse and PTSD, and who are now committed to getting their lives back on track.
In April 2009, 130 Grand Circle associates worked tirelessly to renovate the center's main dining hall as part of the Foundation's annual Rebuilding Together Boston event, repainting walls and installing a drop ceiling to reduce heating costs. And the NECHV is the focus of the Boston community service team's "Up and Out" program, in which company volunteers help about ten families a year relocate to—and even furnish—new homes.
So it's only natural that the NECHV has become the focus of what is becoming an annual Veterans Day event. Last year, on the evening before Veterans Day, 16 Grand Circle associates visited the shelter to distribute more than 300 fully stocked bags of toiletries, to help shelter residents stay clean and presentable for job interviews and other appointments as they work to reclaim their lives. The group also served the veterans dinner in the very same dining hall that Grand Circle associates helped renovate the previous year.
This year, the Grand Circle team asked again what residents needed most. With another cold winter approaching, shelter staff asked for warm socks, as well as another clothing essential: clean underwear.
The call went out throughout Boston headquarters for donations, and even those who work at home were asked to drop off donations or make a contribution online. The facility serves 200-300 veterans at any time on average, which usually includes 6-12 women, and associates were further asked to make sure that all veterans at the shelter were provided for, men and women alike.
Bins located by the elevator were quickly filled with donated items, and on the day before Veterans Day, volunteers pushed a "mobile store" through the halls of the building to offer associates another opportunity to give.
On the evening of November 16, a team Grand Circle associates delivered a total of 2,245 pairs of socks and underwear to the NECHV—and, just as they did last year, they also served dinner to the shelter's residents. And while both the clothing and dinner were accepted with gratitude, it was the associates who were most grateful to have the opportunity to give back to those who have served.
Featured in our November 2011 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.