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Since renting a building in Key Largo, January 2015, our outreach has evolved along with the initial mission. Early on, everything was about creating awareness until we begun holding workshops in early 2014. These workshops grew in attendance and volunteers. We began to open them to all of the community. A presence was felt in the local community and many were starting to stop by to see what we were doing and what we were about. Referrals from other local outreaches/charities here in South Florida such as our churches, food pantries, Florida Keys Outreach Coalition and the Advocate Program (Veterans organization) started flowing in. Initially we just did our best to take care of those that showed up on our doorsteps as we had developed a lot of connections through our weekly program. We added things we could do immediately such as providing food, a shower, toiletries, employment referrals and temporary shelter. We have expanded this to delivering donated baked goods and other foods to sites where those experiencing homelessness congregate on a regular basis. We also help those that are disabled or do not have the means to get to the VA Hospital in Miami or running other errands that they could not do easily on their own. We also have professionally licensed volunteers that offer services free to our Veterans (click here for our Events page for more info).
In the short time we have been doing this we have helped them get services the community offers, benefits they are entitled to, employment, programs to get their life back, shelter, food and dignity. We have discovered that if the statistics of 30 to 40% of the homeless population are Veterans the other 60 to 70% are children of Veterans for they were brought up in a severely dysfunctional household.
While we do not have the funding and donations that other groups and organizations have we do our best to ensure that everybody we encounter has what they came seeking whether it was counseling, a bite to eat, a place to lay their head for a night or a shoulder to lean on. Rest assured they all left with the same thing, dignity.