Veteran’s Day is the U.S. Holiday dedicated to giving thanks to those who have served in our nation’s military. Instead of taking a day off with their families, more than 40 volunteers took to the streets of Washington, DC to bring relief and resources to the District’s homeless veterans.

The AFL-CIO’s Union Veterans Council teamed up with the non-profit Veterans on the Rise and distributed hundreds of care packages and resource information to various homeless shelters and encampments around the District. Union veterans from United Association, Machinists Union, IBEW and the DC area Council, AFL-CIO were on the ground to lend their assistance.

The mission was to distribute immediate care kits to the area homeless and give information to those identified as veterans in an attempt to get them the resources they need to persevere their difficult times.

“The biggest thing we are doing today is showing some dignity to our veterans,” said Union Veterans Council Executive Director Will Attig. “There are an estimated 400 homeless veterans in the DC area and they deserve the same amount of respect we show any other veterans. We are out here to let them know we care, and give them resources where they can find help.”

Volunteers visited 20 total locations – 10 street encampments and 10 homeless shelters – seeking out veterans to assist and give packages containing hats, socks and many personal care items to the homeless. 

“We feel this is nothing better we can do for our homeless veteran comrades than provide them with needed items, personal care items and hope,” said Veterans on the Rise Executive Director David Kurtz. “We also want to provide them access to the programs that will help them recover and find self-sufficiency.”

Marine Corp Veteran and IBEW Local 589 member Ed Cottone traveled all the way from Long Island, NY to volunteer his time.

“What better way to spend Veteran’s Day than to come down here and help my brethren out,” said Cottone. “We normally have our ceremonies, and that’s fine. But when you can actually help somebody out, for me personally, that makes me feel a lot better.”