Brighten a veteran’s day with a buddy basket

Buddy baskets.jpg

When homeless veterans find transitional and permanent housing they are often faced with the need for household goods—toilet paper, light bulbs, laundry detergent, bedding, and more. A project created and implemented by The American Legion Family in Virginia helps meet that need.

The Buddy Basket project is a nice way to welcome a veteran into their new home. Patti Williamson, a VA medical center volunteer, heard about the project and contacted HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing, a program that provides rental assistance for homeless veterans with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, to see if she could provide Buddy Baskets.

“I remember we had a lunch and one of the guys knew he was going to get the first Buddy Basket,” Williamson said. “He stood at the end of the table the whole two hours to make sure no one messed with his Buddy Basket.”

The Buddy Basket project can be adopted anywhere. Here are some tips for how to get started.

  1. Determine who could benefit from the Buddy Baskets by contacting your local VA Medical Center’s homeless coordinator.
  2. Once you know who needs the gift basket, collect items to be distributed. Ask for donations from local schools, business, American Legion Family members, or family and friends.
  3. Assemble the gift basket. Suggested items include: laundry basket, paper towels, toilet paper, trash can, broom and dust pan, household cleaners, dishes, bedding, and a welcome home note signed by everyone who participated in the gift.
  4. Deliver the basket to the veteran or military family.
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