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Siena Francis House and Bellevue University launch an annual backpack drive to assist homeless veterans

BELLEVUE, Nebraska – In a few weeks, bins at the Military Services Center of Bellevue University will not be empty. They will be loaded with toiletries, bedding, and other contributions that will be packaged for Siena Francis House’s homeless veteran clients.

Heather Carroll, manager of Bellevue University’s Military Veteran Services, stated, “The need continues to climb.”

Veterans account for around 20 percent of homeless individuals in the United States. Carroll stated that there are numerous explanations.

“Perhaps they developed a drug addiction as a result of a military injury, grew hooked to the prescribed meds, and then became homeless because they couldn’t escape their addictions,” Carroll said.

She stated that this initiative is a chance to recognize soldiers during the time of year when they require assistance the most.

Carroll stated, “The goal is to deliver these important supplies to our veterans before the real cold weather hits, so they have winter gloves, caps, and leggings for the women.”

The Bellevue Military Veteran Services Center will fill 200 of these bags, which is double the number of bags filled last year. Approximately the same amount of veterans seek refuge at Siena Francis each year.

Chris Knauf, the Siena Francis House’s chief development officer, believes that giving back is essential.

“If you are a veteran experiencing homelessness with food insecurity, no shelter, and no clothing, you can come to Siena Francis House and receive a bag containing these essentials,” Knauf said.

Carroll adds that this initiative would not be possible without community support.

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