CALL FOR HELP: Contribute to Stand Down Pittsburgh

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in Blog |

It’s that time of year when kids are getting ready to go back to school and everyone is enjoying the last few weeks of summer before fall and winter arrives. For the homeless community, it’s that time of year when individuals and families think about the items they will need for the cold winter months. Some of these people may be living on the street or in a car. Some may be living in shelters. Some may be temporarily staying with friends or family. Some may be one pay check away from losing their home. No matter the case, these individuals are in crisis and need our help. Are you looking for a way to help this population? CONTRIBUTE TO STAND DOWN PITTSBURGH You can do so by participating in our community-wide donation drive for Stand Down Pittsburgh, a day-long services fair for homeless Veterans and Veterans who are at risk of becoming homeless. Many of the Veterans who come to Stand Down Pittsburgh are in need of essential items. Below is the list of NEW items we are hoping to collect by September 21st. All of these donations will be distributed at Stand Down Pittsburgh on September 24, 2016. Thermals Sweatshirts Wool socks Coats Hats Scarves Gloves Boots Blankets Hygiene items HOW WILL IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE? Stand Down Pittsburgh is an annual event that truly makes an impact in the lives of people who are experiencing a housing crisis. Last year, 554 Veterans, family members and individuals in need attended Stand Down to get breakfast, lunch, hot showers, haircuts, clothing, food, resources and health services. Check out our blog for a full recap, including an inspiring video and photos from Stand Down Pittsburgh 2015. IT’S EASY TO GET STARTED Meet April Pendzich, who heard about Stand Down Pittsburgh about two weeks  ago when her friend shared a post on Facebook. Since then, April and her family have been asking friends and family to donate blankets, coats, boots, thermal layers, hot hands, snow pants, new socks & underwear for men & women and personal hygiene items. They are also collecting essentials like tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, or anything for living outdoors. “It doesn’t take very much effort to help. I have time to collect things, call friends and family and request their help with this donation drive. In just one week, we’ve received several donations and one of my friends has already filled 8 boxes to donate to Stand Down Pittsburgh. We want to help get the word out as much as we can.” – April Pendzich April is a local military spouse and it hit home when she learned of how many homeless Veterans are living in the United States. Her husband,...

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PAST EVENT: Stand Down Pittsburgh 2016

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Events | 0 comments

Stand Down Pittsburgh is a day of care and free services for homeless Veterans or Veterans who are at risk of becoming homeless. Each year, we provide breakfast, lunch, 60 health & community service providers, entertainment, barbers, clothing, & supplies. The 2016 Stand Down was held at Stage AE on September 24th from 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Free services included: Breakfast Lunch Hot Showers Haircuts Personal care items Clothing Counseling Legal Assistance ID Cards Housing resources Employment resources Social Security VA healthcare General health care Veterans benefits Other resources include substance abuse, domestic violence, military sexual trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, education & training programs, and more! Entertainment: River City Brass played a community concert at Stand Down Pittsburgh. The mission of Pittsburgh’s own River City Brass (RCB) 28 member band founded in 1981 is to entertain, educate, and engage citizens locally, nationally, and internationally in the American musical culture. In honor of Stand Down Pittsburgh, River City Brass will play a selection of patriotic music.   Be sure to check back for details on the 2017 event or follow us on Facebook! Like Stand Down Pittsburgh on Facebook!    Stand Down Pittsburgh is made possible thanks to a community collaboration between the following organizations:  SPONSORED...

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PAST EVENT: The Crucible Hike

Posted by on Feb 26, 2016 in Events | 0 comments

What is The Crucible? Imagine a group of 60 people tackling the Pennsylvania Laurel Highlands Trail for a 3-day, 70+ mile extreme hike with a full gear pack – and The Crucible begins. This 3-day extreme journey through some of Pennsylvania’s most spectacular scenery is not for the faint of heart, but your life won’t be the same after you’ve participated in The Crucible. It’s a journey of passion, determination and personal triumph, as much as it’s an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of local veterans who are in need of housing and employment services. Where will we be hiking? The 70-mile hiking trail stretches along the picturesque Laurel Mountains from the Conemaugh Gorge near Johnstown, PA where you can hike along a rocky footpath and dirt road through mountain laurel to the edge of a 1,000-foot gorge at 2,400 feet to the Youghiogheny River at Ohiopyle – located at the southern reaches of the Laurel Ridge, encompassing rugged natural beauty providing some of the best whitewater in the eastern United States as well as spectacular scenery. What else is included? The Crucible hikers will have access to overnight shelter areas with food, medical attention and plenty of campfires and stories – where new friendships will be forged. The physical and mental challenges associated with the 3-day event mirror the timeless military credo – “we’re all in this together.” The Crucible Hike 2016 recap On September 11th weekend, 98 hikers joined us for The Crucible Hike. In honor and memory of the September 11th attacks, each of the last 11 miles on the trail were dedicated to a local service member who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the War on Terror. The Crucible Hike also donated $1,000 to The Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation in memory of Private First Class Nils George Thompson, a United States Army service member from Connellsville, PA. Thompson was deployed to Mosul, Iraq in 2005 and, while on routine patrol in the turret of his Stryker vehicle, was killed by sniper fire on August 4th, one day after his 19th birthday. The Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation honored the family of Private First Class Nils Thompson by presenting a plaque, recognizing the family as the first major donor of the foundation. VLP was overwhelmed by the community’s support for this event, which raised more than $76,000 for three local Veteran charities including VLP, Veteran on Fire, and The Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation. Be sure to check back for details on the 2017 event or like our Facebook page! Like The Crucible Hike on Facebook!    Have questions about this event? Please call (412) 481-8200 or contact Dan Blevins...

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PAST EVENT: A Tribute to Veterans 2016

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Events | 0 comments

Our 2016 A Tribute to Veterans brought together honorable veterans, well-known business leaders and dedicated supporters of the veteran community on the Thursday before Memorial Day – May 26, 2016. Nearly 500 people joined us at the Carnegie Museum Music Hall in Oakland for an evening of honoring, celebrating and saluting the men and women who have served our country. CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR TRIBUTE HONOREES: Veteran of the Year Award – Staff Sergeant Joe Wadlow Chairman’s Award – Sergeant Joseph Caskey    Community Partner Award – Life Changing Service Dogs for Veterans Corporate Leader Award – The Pittsburgh Pirates In case you weren’t able to attend, you can view all of the photos from this year’s event here! Many thanks to our photographer, Mary Beth Kratsas.   We must applaud our Tribute Chair and Tribute Emcee for a job well done as our hosts: The Honorable Jessica L. Garfola Wright & Mr. Ken Carlson.   Also, many of our attendees were captivated by Chris Jamison’s impressive performance. Chris even debuted a new song titled, “Better Man.” We concluded the evening with the special Tribute tradition of remembering all of the men and women from the Pittsburgh region who gave their all to serve and protect our country. Chris Jamison sang a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace, which you can watch at the video below.  ...

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IAVA VetTogether

Posted by on Jan 10, 2016 in Events | 0 comments

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) VetTogethers are Veteran community events held across the nation to re(build) camaraderie between local Veterans.   VLP is the host of the Pittsburgh IAVA VetTogethers, which are held on a quarterly basis. We invite the local Veteran community to meet new and familiar faces, including employers looking to hire Veterans. Join us for our next IAVA VetTogether in December for happy hour and light appetizers. Next VetTogether: TBA Testimonial: “The VetTogether went very well. The atmosphere allowed us to move around freely and talk amongst each other in a comfortable way. Many conversations took place, and folks moved around introducing themselves and got to know everyone there.” – U.S. Army...

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