Coming soon: New veteran social center in Reading

'It's something that was really needed'

READING, Pa. - It's not a training center or a military outpost overseas. It's a reconstructed room inside the Hope Rescue Mission in Reading, soon to be a safe haven for local veterans.

"They're going to feel at home here." said co-founder Liz Graybill of Veterans Making A Difference. "This is their second home or maybe their first home, ya know? It was just old, wooden floors, not furnished, not kept up."

The space has come a long way since the organization came up with the concept.

"We have a lobby now, we have furniture, table, kitchen.  We never had all that before. We have a new paint job. We have drop ceilings," Graybill explained. "Before, all the wires were exposed."

Veterans will have the opportunity to get a hot meal, learn about new benefit options and, most importantly, share stories with other vets to help them improve their lives here at home.

"Loneliness is loneliness. It doesn't matter your financial status, so this is very important for veterans to have a place to meet with other veterans and feel that comradery with each other," Graybill said.

Local veteran Kerry Moore is looking forward to it.

"It's a phenomenal job down there," Moore said. "It's something that was really needed for the veterans of Berks County. There just is not enough for, specifically, for the veterans in the area, and for private individuals to go out of their way and raise the money to provide this, I just can't say enough about how grateful we all are."

Organizers plan to announce a grand opening soon.

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