Volunteers help Grand Rapids Home for Veterans for the holidays

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The holiday shopping season is here, but buying gifts for loved ones can be difficult for Michigan’s aging veterans.

That’s why volunteers from around West Michigan came together Tuesday to create a holiday gift shop for the hundreds of veterans living at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans.

Businesses and individuals donate a variety of gifts for the veterans to pick for family members and themselves. Volunteers help the veterans select gifts and wrap them. The veterans can then have them mailed to relatives to be opened on Christmas Day.

It takes an army of volunteers from organizations like the American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary to help plan and organize the event.

One of the longest-serving veterans is Sarah Brooks. She is 90 years old and has been volunteering at the veterans home for 54 years.

“Not enough is being done for our veterans. I pray for that,” said Brooks. “People need to come down to visit the home and see the American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary are doing for the men and women here.”

There are a lot of ways to help our Michigan veterans. During the holidays, the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans hosts a Christmas tree filled with veteran Christmas wishes. Visitors to the lobby can pick up a tag and purchase a gift for them.

There are also year-round needs for the veterans, including toiletrie items listed on the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans’ website. People can also make a financial donation to the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans Post Fund.

Another option is volunteering. The Grand Rapids Home for Veterans is a 500 acre site with over 450 beds; there are lots of opportunities for people to spend time with the veterans or cleaning up the grounds.

Interested volunteers can find more information by contacting Deanna Reames at 616.364.5331 or reamesd@michigan.gov.