Giving lags for needy at Chattanooga Vet Center

Giving lags for needy at Chattanooga Vet Center

November 26th, 2012 by Todd South in Local Regional News

Mike Bearden, team leader for the Chattanooga Veterans Center in 2011, talks about the food drive and those that will receive help from the effort.

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

AT A GLANCE

What: Veteran food and donation drive

Where: Chattanooga Vet Center, 951 Eastgate Loop Road

Contact: 423-855-6570

Needed: Gift cards, nonperishable food, toys

Deadline: Dec. 14

For the past five years, boxes of food, stacks of gift cards and other donated items have lined the hallway of the Chattanooga Vet Center during the holidays.

This year the need is no different, but the stacks are shorter.

The center's veterans and counselors aim to serve 15 to 20 needy area veteran families, but counselor and Marine Corps veteran Phil Elliott said a previous source of donations isn't available this year.

The center will accept donations for the food and gift drive until Dec. 14. Nonperishable foods appropriate for a holiday meal and gift cards for shopping and fuel are helpful, Elliott said.

People who visit the center pass the word of comrades in need, he said.

Center team leader Taz Randles said one of the benefits of the informal drive is that it empowers veterans to help other veterans.

"These guys are anxious for these younger veterans to get in here," Randles said of older veterans who come to the counseling center.

He specifically mentioned Vietnam War veterans who want current war veterans to get the help they need.

"Believe it or not, it really helps them and at the same time fills a critical need for individuals who may never ask or admit there was a need," Randles said.