Area residents will have an opportunity to honor and support local veterans and their families through the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County's "Operation United" T-shirt campaign. Those who donate $15 or $20 to this special fundraiser will receive an "Operation United" T-shirt to wear in support of military families.
Companies can find out about volunteer opportunities and how to offer shirts to their employees by contacting the "Operation United" coordinator at [email protected]. Donations to "Operation United" can be made online at www.uwbec.org/operation-united or at the following locations:
•Walden Galleria Mall outside the food court from noon until 5 p.m. Thursdays, Nov. 6 and 13
•Veterans Day Parade at Niagara Square (11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8)
•Buffalo Sabres home games on Nov. 8 and 15 (First Niagara Center, top of main staircase)
•From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Nov. 10-14 at D'Youville College (Alt Building foyer)
UWBEC's latest community needs assessment noted more than 4,600 veterans in Erie County live below the federal poverty line. Of the 69,000 veterans residing in Erie County, many live with the day-to-day challenges of physical and mental health problems as a result of their service, in addition to the stress of raising families, retaining employment, maintaining housing and working toward higher education. Many veterans also are returning home and need assistance with re-acclimating to their families and communities.
Michael Weiner, president and CEO of UWBEC, said, "After having served our country, many veterans return home to face a host of challenges, not the least of which is finding employment and financial stability. 'Operation United' is designed to raise money to help fund programs specific to veterans and their families, and also to provide a very visible way for our community members to demonstrate support for them."
The gray T-shirts with a blue "Operation United" logo are available in adult sizes from small to XXXL and come in ladies, unisex and long-sleeve styles. The T-shirts are 100 percent American-made. The fundraiser is expected to run throughout the year. People can follow the fundraiser's progress through Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #OperationUnited.
Operation United is a pilot project. Proceeds will be used for Erie County programs tailored to veterans. Funds will be distributed in 2015 to local programs serving military families.
The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County brings people, organizations and resources together to improve community well-being. Through program funding, community collaborations and strategic initiatives in the areas of education, financial stability, and health and wellness, United Way helps children reach their full potential, adults achieve financial stability, and all people achieve and maintain good health and wellness.
For more information, visit www.uwbec.org.