Top of Illinois Veteran's Stand Down

By: Erica Hurtt
By: Erica Hurtt

As America is gearing up for a possible war with Iraq, it's a good time to remember our veterans, especially those struggling to get by. The Rock River Valley United Way is holding its annual Top of Illinois Veteran's Stand Down, a chance for vets to get some much needed help.

The two-day event is a chance for vets in need to get a variety of services including medical assistance, food, clothing and job counseling. In these tough economic times, some vets say they couldn't get help otherwise.

Robert Hodge is one of dozens of veterans looking for some help at this United Way event. He's been unemployed for months and times are tough, "This is the economy now. There are no jobs now. Four years ago there were a lot. I had two jobs but now it's a little harder,” comments Hodge.

An army veteran, Hodge says the event links him up with valuable services, "I need help a lot today to be honest. You get a lot of leads on things but you can't do it yourself. They're like a spokesperson for us.”

Organizers say their goal is to make sure veterans don't need to come to this event again next year.

"Basically what we try to do is get them jobs, housing whatever it takes to get them off the streets and out of the shelters, into a better life,” says Chairman Terrence Kinn.

Friday marks the ninth annual Top of Illinois Veteran's Stand Down, and organizers say about 100 vets will attend, over the two days.

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Facts About the United Way

  • Their agenda is: "United Way is the leader and catalyst for change in the business of caring. We look for approaches that have not been taken. We explore alternatives and seek new ways to solve community problems."

  • The United Way believes in teamwork, and they bring donors and volunteers together with community leaders and agencies to address the most pressing problems in the community.

  • As a performance-based philanthropy, United Way is focused on achieving measurable results.

  • The United Way system includes approximately 1,900 community-based United Way organizations. Each is independent, separately incorporated, and governed by local volunteers.

  • United Way volunteers raised $3.77 billion dollars in the 1999-2000 campaign, which was used for human services ranging from disaster relief, emergency food and shelter and crisis intervention to day care, physical rehabilitation and youth development.

  • The United Way of America (UWA) provides a range of assistance to United Ways that includes the following:
    • A national advertising and promotion program.
    • A partnership with the National Football League.
    • Training for United Way professionals and volunteers.
    • Support to national companies that want to cultivate a year-round relationship with United Ways.
    • A national database for several types of information, including fund-raising and fund-distribution statistics as well as measuring and demonstrating impact in all activities undertaken.
    • A national network allowing United Ways to share best practices and other information.
    • A unified voice in national government relations.

    To find your local United Way, visit out source: Source: http://national.unitedway.org (The United Way Web site)


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