Ten years of helping our homeless veterans

Cindy Mayron

This year’s VA Homeless Veterans Clothing and Household Goods Drive celebrates ten years of helping our homeless veterans with its fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 19, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m.

With the start of autumn only days away, it’s a great time to clean out your closets to support the drive, sponsored by The Women of Quail Creek (TWOQC). You can drop off your donations in the parking lot between the Madera Clubhouse and the Creative Arts and Tech Center.

The drive started in 2010 with one person knitting some hats and encouraging other TWOQC members to help. Peggy McGee, an Army veteran, Department of Veteran Affairs retiree, and TWOQC president that year, brought yarn for a long flight to Athens and knitted four hats. After showing them to other club members, she asked them if they would make hats and scarves (with 39 skeins of donated yarn) as a Christmas community service project.

One hand-knitted hat arrived, then a few more and at the holiday luncheon in 2010, members contributed 107 hats, (75 of them handmade), scarves, gloves, hat/glove/scarf sets, shirts, slacks, toiletries, underwear, and socks, all to help veterans face the upcoming winter chill. When the donations arrived at the VA center, then-Director of Clinical Rehabilitation Martin Twohill said, “We appreciate and are all grateful for the sacrifices our military make on a day-to-day basis to keep our country free.” McGee responded, “Our club wanted to say thanks to some of them at this time of the year.”

That first clothing drive in front of the Madera Clubhouse parking lot has grown in donations, donated boxes, and volunteers. Last year, there were 110 volunteers, including TWOQC members, their spouses, community members, and Jr. NROTC cadets. An eight-foot truck was donated to transport the items to Tucson, and, in addition to a large number of items collected, $750 was raised.

This year, only new or gently used clean men’s fall and winter clothing will be accepted, such as coats, jackets, sweatshirts, shirts, long pants, shoes (especially tennis or athletic shoes), hats, gloves, new and unopened packages of socks and underwear, and reading glasses. This year, Homeless Veteran’s Services has requested that we not collect women’s clothing.

Also being collected are small kitchen appliances, kitchenware, queen-sized bed linens, lamps, vacuum cleaners, bicycles and accessories, new and unopened toiletries, large plastic storage bin totes with lids, and 2020 calendars.

For a complete list, visit the womenqc.com/annual-clothing-household-goods-drive website.

“I am thrilled to be working with so many wonderful team members who are helping to make this year’s event fun and fulfilling. We hope that everyone will make an effort to participate by showing up with their donations for our very deserving homeless veterans,” said Tessie Hagerich, TWOQC drive chairperson.

The community is invited to attend TWOQC’s monthly meeting, “Veterans Clothing Drive Prequel” on Monday, Sept. 30, at 6:30 p.m., in the Madera Ballroom. The featured speakers from the VA will share how our donations are used by homeless veterans as well as those moving into their own apartments.