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Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Marion

The Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Marion.

The Marion Veterans Affairs Medical Center will attempt to fight homelessness for veterans in the area. But first, it is calling for individuals to give a hand in the fight.

The Marion VA is hosting its annual Stand-Down event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at 2705 Walton Way in Marion.

According to an email by Beth Lamb, the VA’s Public Affairs Officer, the VA is looking for socks, underwear, T-shirts, toilet paper, paper towels, personal hygiene items, laundry detergent, household items, non-perishable food and clothing. The VA is also looking for monetary donations so it can purchase things that were not received through donations.

Lamb said Tuesday that any items need to be new and in the package. Used clothing will not be accepted.

“Southern Illinois is always so good to us when we have this event,” she said. “The St. Louis Food Bank brought down about two tons of food last year.”

“Ending homeless among Veterans is a win-win situation for the whole community by freeing up resources and providing employment and (housing) for Veterans,” the email said. “In 2015, Marion VA Stand-Down events assisted hundreds of Veterans and their dependents with food, household items, and additional assistance from community agencies ranging from legal and employment services, housing authorities, emergency shelter providers and more.”

Lamb said for many people, they could be just a couple paychecks away from losing the place where they live. Also, many people may have enough money to stay somewhere, but not have their own place.

The monetary donations help find those veterans employment, housing and start getting those people back on the right track, she said. Also, the money can be used to purchase necessities such as gas and phone cards, and hotel rooms for a family if a veteran is hospitalized.

Lamb said 100 percent of the donations goes straight to helping the veterans.

According to the VA, in order to donate, or volunteer during the drive in September, call 618-993-4121, or email

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Dustin Duncan is a reporter for The Southern Illinoisan covering Carbondale.

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