Goodwill helping veterans and their families during the holidays

Community invited to participate in 'Angel Tree' effort and donate toys for the children of homeless and at-risk veterans

Published Friday, December 1, 2017

Veteran Angel TreeSARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL - Goodwill Manasota's Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) is offering a special opportunity for community members to help local veterans and their families. Program staff members have created an Angel Tree to provide the children of homeless or at-risk veterans with presents this holiday season. Goodwill invites the community to participate and help make the holidays brighter for these children. 

The family members of veterans are often missed when volunteers count homeless individuals during the annual community census. Goodwill Veterans Services Program case managers are working with agencies and organizations that serve veterans - including its housing partners Jewish Family & Children's Service and Turning Points - to identify prospective families, learn what at-risk veterans need this holiday season, and to create a gift wish list for each child, striving to ensure no one is missed. 

The gift requests will be printed on tags and used to decorate an Angel Tree at the Goodwill Veterans Services Program Office, located at 8490 Lockwood Ridge Road in Sarasota. Community members can pick an Angel Tree tag in three ways: by visiting the veterans office in person, by going to experiencegoodwill.org/angeltree, or by calling the veterans office at (941) 355-2721, ext. 451. They can then purchase that gift and deliver it to the veterans office by December 18. Goodwill Manasota volunteers and staff will distribute donated gifts to families. 

"The Angel Tree program is helping to provide a Merry Christmas for our community, one child at a time. In some cases, this might be the only gift these children receive all year," said Goodwill Manasota president and CEO Bob Rosinsky. "Goodwill is dedicated to being a solid resource for our local veterans and their families. We have so much to be grateful for - having the opportunity to pay it forward is one of the most meaningful."

In 2015, in response to the growing needs of the homeless veteran community, Goodwill's Veterans Services Program expanded to include three facets: the Veterans and Their Families Program (VFP), the Special Emergency Resources for Veterans (SERV) Fund, and the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP); the latter program is funded directly through grants from the U.S. Department of Labor. The focus of the HVRP is to help more than 125 homeless veterans annually by reducing or removing barriers to employment and helping them to reintegrate back into society.

For more information about Goodwill's Veterans Services Program, go to experiencegoodwill.org or call (941) 355-2721, ext. 451.

 

PHOTO ID: Mike Marzella, veterans services manager, and Bryan Jacobs, advisor, of the Goodwill Manasota Veterans Services Program

 

About Goodwill Manasota

Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading, 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With the sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities and other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. In 2016, Goodwill Manasota served 28,207 people, placed 755 people in jobs and assisted 240 veterans as they reintegrated back into the civilian workforce. Goodwill Manasota's economic impact back to the community is worth $92.1 million. Goodwill is one of the pioneers of the reduce-reuse-recycle movement and this past year diverted more than 40 million pounds out of the landfill. We accomplish our mission through a network of Good Neighbor Centers in Sarasota, Manatee, Hardee and DeSoto counties and our Mission Development Services (MDS) around North America. Goodwill Manasota is accountable to a local Board of Directors. Goodwill Manasota, in essence, belongs to this community and is not owned by any individual or company. For more information, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org.