140 veterans served during JFCS Stand Down Event

Turnout up 40% from 2018

Image courtesy JFCS of the Suncoast

JFCS of the Suncoast and more than 50 other agencies and local businesses served 140 veterans — including 54 who were homeless — during the recent, eighth annual JFCS Stand Down Event, the nonprofit has reported.

Held in the Sarasota Fairgrounds’ Potter Building, the event recorded turnout that was more than 40% higher than the figure for the 2018 event, a news release explains.

Each veteran was provided with a backpack filled with daily essentials, including hygiene items, clothing, blankets and non-perishable food, the release points out. The veterans also were able to get fitted for footwear; meet with legal, housing and counseling professionals; receive health screenings; access Veterans Administration benefits; enter a bike raffle; take a shower; and wash clothes, the release says.

In addition, 12th Judicial Circuit Court Judge Andrew Owens Jr., who presides over the community’s Veterans Court, reviewed pending court cases and “erased tens of thousands of dollars in fines,” the release points out.

“Stand Down is a grassroots community-based intervention program designed to help homeless veterans on any given day ‘combat’ life on the streets,” JFCS President and CEO Heidi Brown said in the release.

“JFCS of the Suncoast, which is based in Sarasota, is a client-centric nonprofit organization “that gives help to the most vulnerable,” the release explains. “Fully accredited, JFCS works to provide holistic solutions and stability to people in crisis,” helping them attain mental health and social services, the release adds.

JFCS serves more than 5,700 individuals each year in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto and Lee counties, providing counseling, prevention, intervention, outreach, case management, basic life necessities, financial aid, and life skills education programs on a secular, non-denominational basis, the release says.

For more information, visit www.jfcs-cares.org.