Posted on Feb 28, 2020
Thanks to a great team of Rotarians, and 50 Rotary Clubs from the former Rotary District 7470, our club has recently engaged in a very worthwhile endeavor!  Project "Welcome Home Wish" list is now part of the projects of  the new Rotary District 7475 .
 
     This program helps formerly homeless veterans get back on their feet, by providing them with the basics such as having the standard  household items in this day and age.   Our team goes out and shops for the items on their wish list. These lists are received from the graduating veterans of the Hope for Veterans program at Lyons VA. These lists include sheets, pillowcases, towels, coffee makers, blenders, toaster ovens,microwaves  down to the forks and knives. Once all the items have been purchased we deliver them directly to the newly homed vets.  So far this year alone over 30 formerly homeless vets have been assisted by the program. Our area covers most of New Jersey.
     To explain this program in simple terms - through various methods and for various reasons the homeless veteran enrolls in a program called Hope for Veterans  at the Lyons VA Campus in Basking Ridge.  They complete a program that helps them with the basics, finding employment, getting a home, addressing physical, or mental issues that they may be facing.  Upon completion they find a regular place of residence in which they merely have the place of residence.  Many of the apartments we deliver to have nothing, bare floors, walls, kitchen cabinets, etc.  However it is far better than living on the street.  This is where Rotary's participation begins.  We receive the personalized list from each Veterans prior to their graduation from the program.  They ask for the basics that we often take for granted that normalize daily living, and provide a sense of pride as they are able to restart with a new apartment, new utensils, fixtures, blankets and towels among other items.
    
     Our small project  started in 2013 , quickly grew to become a district wide endeavor in  2015, where most of the clubs from Rotary District 7470 came on board to participate either through shopping, raising funds, or helping to organize and deliver the items purchased to formerly homeless and honorably discharged US Veterans.   To date over $20,000 dollars has been raised and we are continuing in 2020  to make sure the program stays adequately funded and our participation can continue. 
       
      It is nice to bring a sense of peace to these deserving vets.  We continue to look for regular revenue sources, additional clubs to participate, and corporate participation.  If you, your group, or your company would like to donate, please contact us for details through our website or by emailing us at rotarydg7470@gmail.com  Also please like and share both our rotary fb page - Rotary Club of Jefferson Twsp./Sparta, and Welcome Home Wish List .