Veterans launch effort to help homeless comrades

Veterans launch effort to help homeless comrades

READING, Pa. - Veterans served our country, and now people in Reading are gathering to serve them.

"The veterans that become homeless, they do not know which way they are headed. They have decisions they have to make and they do not know how to make them. They get hopeless and frustrated," said Pastor Pete Maldonado, of Hammond Heights Seventh Day Adventist Church.

The Army Reserve said veterans make up 25 percent of the homeless population in Berks County.

"I became homeless after a problem with a landlord. I slept in my truck for two years with a big cat," said Bryan Woodring Sr., a Marine Corps veteran.

That is why the Army Reserve wanted to step in and expand stand-down events already in place to help local veterans.

"This was something I just felt like the Army Reserve need to show that we are here and we are here to help," said Army Reserve Major Mary Olodun.

Over the next two days, homeless veterans can go to the GoggleWorks and get food, clothing, haircuts and medical services.

"Come in out of the battle. Come in and get warm. We will take care of you with food, clothing and comradery," said Robin Gilmore, with the 2nd Brigade Motorcycle Club.

The stand-down is all about veterans helping veterans, and organizers said they hope it will ultimately help people get back on their feet.

"What we are doing here is trying to give them a sense of direction, point them in a place where they can say there is something I can do to better my situation and we are trying to give them hope," said Maldonado.

The event will continue Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Goggleworks at 201 Washington Street in Reading. The medical truck will only be there on Saturday.

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