RANCHO SANTA FE — A group effort was launched at the Village Community Presbyterian Church in Rancho Santa Fe to help homeless veterans. The Village Church chose Sept. 11, a heartfelt date, to roll out a collection which will effectively serve veterans in need.
The Homeless Veterans Initiative gives veterans something to look forward to: A home.
“Studies have found that homeless people find far more success when they are put into a permanent housing situation as quickly as possible with the appropriate support and services. We are working with Interfaith Community Services in North County San Diego to move these vets into homes by supplying essential household items that are not supplied by the VA nor by Interfaith Community Services,” Reverend Dr. Jan Farley, Associate Pastor of the Village Community Presbyterian Church said. “That’s where the churches come in. When you are homeless you come into the home with just what’s on your back. We furnish the homes. We make them homes.”
According to Farley, on Sept. 11, in addition to gently used furniture, the Village Church also collected donations geared toward “Move-in Packages.” Packed in these boxes are kitchen supplies, cleaning items, bedding, and much more.
Collections for this first phase will continue until Oct. 9.
“People may also go shopping from a list of one of the seven Packages as well as underwrite an entire Move-In Kit at $716 containing supplies to completely outfit a home with four persons,” Farley said. She continued, “They can also make a cash contribution to help with move-in costs, purchase of beds or other general needs to house a veteran.”
The next collection is slated for the “Alternative Christmas Market,” Nov. 20, which will be hosted by the Village Church. Following this, Farley said the program would be evaluated for 2017.
“It’s our hope to expand and serve other homeless populations,” she said.
While the Village Church is leading the efforts, Farley pointed out that there are other churches participating in the Homeless Veterans Initiative. They include Oceanside First Presbyterian Church, Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Grace Vista Neighborhood Church, and Christ La Costa.
Farley explained that the collected items will be transferred to Interfaith Community Services where they will be stored and then distributed to the veterans.
“Churches will help unload the goods collected and help our vets move into their new homes,” she said.
Discussions between North County Presbyterian Churches for implementing the Homeless Veterans Initiative started in March.
Farley said everyone wondered what they could do to help end homelessness in San Diego North County. Between the churches, government agencies and Interfaith Community Services, a program emerged.
“It has taken dozens of meetings to crystalize this program and launch the Homeless Veterans Initiative,” she said. “It is our goal to build a relationship with the newly housed veterans to help support them long-term.”
For those interested in learning more or to donate, Farley invites all to visit the patio of the Village Church on any Sunday through Oct. 9 or visiting VillageChurch.org.