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?

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
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.
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, Adam, is an Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veteran and recently lost his job. April mentioned that collecting items for the Veterans is giving him a sense of purpose while he looks for employment.
“With Adam being laid off, we see how easily we could lose everything, including our home. There are so many others in a similar situation. We realize that anybody can become homeless within a blink of an eye if they don’t have anyone to help. Homelessness doesn’t discriminate.”
If you are interested in participating in this critical donation drive, please contact Robin Rectenwald at or (412) 481-8200. Donation drop-off day will be on Wednesday, September 21st at VLP’s offices.