It's estimated that there are some 275,000 homeless veterans in the United States - men and women who served in the armed forces at some time, but who have fallen on hard times and, as a result, are without a place to call their own.
The number of homeless veterans has risen significantly in the past 25 years, and despite the best efforts of local governments and volunteers, the problem has slowly gotten worse, not better, with time.
Fortunately, several organizations exist to assist veterans and their families in times of need. In 1988, two veterans of the Vietnam War created Stand Down, an annual event designed to provide homeless veterans a wide range of basic necessities (food, clothing, and medical care), along with housing, companionship and camaraderie. Since the first Stand Down was held in San Diego, the idea of scheduling a day or series of days to care for homeless veterans has expanded nationwide, with approximately 140 similar events held across the country each year. It is now estimated that up to 100,000 veterans have received assistance at Stand Down events in the U.S.
Last year, student interns and practitioners from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine attended the Stand Down event in San Diego, providing more than 600 free massage and acupuncture treatments to veterans and their families. This year's Stand Down-San Diego promises to be even larger, and presents an opportunity for members of the community to reach out to the homeless veteran population and address other important areas of need.
The Stand Down San Diego event will be held Saturday and Sunday, July 16-17, on the football field of San Diego High School, located at 1405 Park Boulevard. Treatments will be delivered by PCOM practitioners and volunteers from 9 am to 5 pm.
For more information on Stand Down, call (800) 729-0941.
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