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VFW Auxiliary looking for community support for veterans

Thu, Dec 14th 2023 08:50 am

By Alice Gerard

Senior Contributing Writer

The Auxiliary of the Charles N. DeGlopper Memorial VFW Post 9249 is asking the community to assist in its clothing drive to assist veterans, said Kathleen Blake, president.

“The VA Hospital in Buffalo has a clothing room for needy veterans, both male and female,” Blake said, noting there are two volunteers who crochet and knit with the Golden Age Center.

Blake explained that volunteers who staff the clothing room “try to make sure they have clothing for any veteran who is admitted to the hospital. Sometimes, they come in wearing pajamas and no shoes. Sometimes, their clothes must be cut off them if there’s an injury involved.”

“We have literally turned in 200 knit caps, another 200 scarves, neck warmers and mittens. I’ve taken those up already,” Blake said. “But, because it’s a hospital, health department rules that everything else must be new, with the tags on it. So, we have a bucket to fill out here.

“I’ve already taken one load to the VA. The sizes they’re looking for are medium to 4X. We’ve had several auxiliary members turn in clothing already. This is a postwide drive. We are collecting coats, slacks, sweats, sweatshirts, warm underwear. I have already taken up coats and underwear in every size for men and women. We’ve gotten every size but 4X, because I don’t think we’ve found them.”

The Auxiliary has also adopted a veteran family recommended by the VA Hospital.

“The names come from the VA volunteer services,” Blake said. “This is a female veteran with four children: two boys aged 11 and 4, and two girls aged 9 and 1. We are shopping for them. The object is to get them a want, a need, and a read. One of our ladies said what we need to do is get something they might want, something they need, and something to read.

“So, three of us have shopped. We are picking out two outfits for each child. We didn’t get sizes for the mother, so we got her a Tops gift card, a Visa gift card, and we’ve gotten diapers for the baby because those are so expensive. Today (Dec. 7), we are wrapping the gifts. We are taking them to the VA next Tuesday. The pickup day for all these needy families is Dec. 21. But we want to get them there early and get everything situated.”

“The clothing drive is, hopefully, a communitywide drive,” Blake said. “We also have a drop off box here for Toys for Tots. People can drop off donations from noon to 6 p.m. daily.

“It’s a great way to support our veterans. Some years, I am able to get together a little bag with Christmas cards and pens and stamps for inpatients to be able to send.”

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