Story by Jackie Drake, American Red Cross contributor
Providing service to active military and veterans is what Service to the Armed Forces does each day. In addition to direct support of service members, SAF is a constant source of support to the local Veterans Affairs hospital, delivering donations of snacks, blankets, coffee pots, art supplies and diapers. These tangible donations help fill in the gaps of care that are valuable in supporting patient care according to Barbra Bell, Voluntary Service Officer for the VA Hospital, “We depend on community partners to fill those gaps with donations. Things such as toiletries, blankets, wheelchair bags and other items that really help support our nursing units where inpatients are getting their care.”
Female veterans who receive care through the VA’s women’s center also benefit from Red Cross donations. Many of the women who seek treatment here reside in low income households or may be homeless. For those who are expectant mothers, the added expense of diapers and formula can be overwhelming. For SAF, the goal on the horizon is getting into the women’s clinic to have volunteers make reminder phone calls about appointments.
And then something all veterans can benefit from is Art Therapy, administered to individuals or groups. “We do groups as a way of bringing people out of their rooms to come together as a way to meet and talk with the other veterans. Have some down time where they’re not thinking about their physical problems or emotional problems. It’s very soothing and healing as well,” said Sheryl Corbit, board certified Art Therapist.
Need to get connected to military services? There’s an app for that! Download the Hero Care App. The Hero Care Network connects service members, veterans and their families to the assistance they need 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the form of emergency communications, financial assistance, information referral, workshops and deployment services.