Jan 15, 2016

Community Letter: Help us plan our Athens Area Stand Down Event

Dear community member,

As a community, we can accomplish far more by working together than we can by working alone. This is especially true for complex issues, like homelessness.

In an effort to support those in our area who are homeless and at risk of homelessness, several community members have come together to organize the area’s very first Stand Down event.

What is a Stand Down?
The word “Stand Down” is a military term and refers to the time when combat units recover from their time on the battlefield. In the civilian world, Stand Down refers to a community-based program designed to help the homeless and those at risk of homelessness connect to the resources they need to address their problems and rebuild their lives. The services at a typical Stand Down can vary from getting a free haircut and getting free clothing and food to receiving legal services, a medical screening and referrals for housing services. Some services, like some medical support and supplies, are available to veterans only.

What we’re able to provide at our Stand Down will depend greatly on the participation of community members like you. Please consider this letter as a formal invitation to participate in this event. We welcome all levels of participation. Your support can come in whatever form you or your organization is most comfortable with – that may mean joining our planning committee, offering a donation, manning a table on the day of the event, volunteering, and anything in between.

Our free and public event will be on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Athens County Fairgrounds.

What are our goals?Our primary goal is to connect our most vulnerable citizens with the resources they need. By doing so, we will give them hope and encouragement so that they can rebuild their lives. We will also use this event as a way to educate the public about the issue of homelessness, among veterans and non-veterans, in our area.

Who will we serve?
We will target those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Specialized services will be available for veterans only.

What do we need?
We are hopeful to receive donations of time and services. Here is a list of some of the things we’d like to provide. We are planning to serve 300 individuals on this day. You may have other ideas of what to provide, and we welcome your feedback.

•    Hygiene items
•    Diapers 
•    Non-perishable food
•    Clothing
•    Coats/hats/gloves
•    Shoes/boots
•    Paper Products
•    Sleeping bags    •    Chap stick
•    Sun screen
•    Pocket calendars
•    Wet wipes
•    First Aid items
•    Backpacks
•    Feminine hygiene products

•    Physical health services
•    Mental health services
•    Legal services
•    Housing assistance   
•    Dental health services
•    Job coaching services
•    Addiction recovery services
•    Haircuts

Other items
•    Tables
•    Chairs
•    Kid activities
•    Entertainment (music to play in the background on the day of the event)   
•    Printing services
•    Lunch for participants and volunteers*
•    Promotional services
    *To account for both participants and volunteers, we will plan to feed lunch to 400 people.

When do we need to hear from you?
The sooner we hear from you, the sooner we can make plans. October 2016 may sound like it’s far into the future, but we will need all of that time to ensure we create a quality event.

Who is doing this? We have formed a committee specifically to plan our Stand Down. Our committee meets on a monthly basis. Our planning committee members represent the following organizations:
•    Chillicothe VA Medical Center
•    Athens VA Clinic
•    Celebrate Recovery/Athens Community Church
•    Athens County Job & Family Services
•    Athens County Common Pleas Court
•    ROTC
•    Tri County Adult Career Center    •    Ohio University Veterans Center
•    Hopewell Health Centers
•    ODJFS Veterans Services
•    Athens County 211
•    OhioHealth O’Bleness Memorial Hospital
•    VFW Post 7174
•    Athens County Fair Board
•    Adam Baker, Attorney & and Counsellor at Law, LLC

Who do we contact for more information?
If you’d like to help us, or if you have any questions, please contact:
Arian Smedley, Athens Area Stand Down Planning Committee Member

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