Gathering Together: Home for the Holidays
Through traffic and fog the cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul showed up in force to support Minnesota Veterans at this year’s Home for the Holiday event at Target Field led by WCCO CBS Channel 4 and MACV. Each Veteran had their individual circumstance attended to by dozens of volunteers, employers, housing specialists, social services, medical service providers, and MACV employees.
Bringing care and support providers together at one location eased the burden placed on homeless Veterans, who often have difficulty communicating with support organizations, many separated by vast distances and now freezing temperatures. This is the first such event since COVID-19 entered society, and for many it was the first gathering since the start of the epidemic.
Among hours of activity and planning, Vets received personalized help with housing, legal services, employment, and health care navigation. As they walked the halls of the Club Level, they discussed information about education opportunities, service animals, and future outreach events.
Anyone who wanted a haircut was seen by one of two amazing barbers, and a delicious holiday meal was served that included turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cookies, and other refreshments. Volunteers, providers, and vets filled the tables and contributed to a jovial atmosphere. Warmth and friendship filled the room. Like all Americans, many Vets went back for seconds. Some went back for thirds.
Minnesota Twin Hall of Fame Pitcher Bert Blyleven joined in the camaraderie, sharing conversation and offering words of hope and inspiration to those in attendance. MACV President and CEO Neal Loidolt shared news of progress across the state, as well as his determined vision. Esteemed reporter Reg Chapman of WCCO thanked his comrades in arms for their service and encouraged those in attendance to share this good news with any friends they have on the street.
Following the event MACV received an anonymous email from the friend of a homeless Veteran.
“We couldn’t believe how well-staffed this event was. From the moment we pulled on the wrong door, there instantly was someone to show us the correct way in and many helpers along the way. I just hope that this will ultimately result in my housemate finding his own home. Both of us really appreciated the kindness and care we received. God bless you at Christmas and always – your mission is SO important!”
Many dozens of Veterans were helped Wednesday. Making significant difference in ONE life is why we at MACV do what we do. Serving a meal and so much more, we salute those who protect this nation and we remain ready to serve Minnesota Veterans experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless.
Ending Veteran homelessness in Minnesota is our mission. Together, we’re making it happen.