WESTFIELD-Now in its seventh year, a donation drive will be conducted at Stanley Park on May 8 to benefit Homeward Vets, Inc.
“We serve all of Massachusetts with the majority of our donations helping veterans in Western Massachusetts,” said Dave Felty, president of Homeward Vets.
The local nonprofit organization, based in Ludlow, has been providing free home furnishings to veterans since its inception in 2012.
The donation drive will be conducted from 8 a.m. to noon at the Asian Garden parking lot on Margaret Lane across from the Veterans’ Memorial.
Small household items are being sought at this time for veterans who are transitioning into permanent housing. Items in particular that are always needed include small appliances such as toasters, microwaves, toaster ovens and coffee makers.
“We need pots and pans more than anything,” said Felty, adding that people dropping off donations will not have to get out of their cars since volunteers will be ready to take items out of one’s trunk or back seat.
“We just ask that all donations are clean before they are handed to us,” he said.
Felty said on average the organization is able to assist 100 to 110 veterans each year with household items.
“We were still a necessity last year and saw more than 70 veterans, always meeting one person at a time, to keep everyone safe because of COVID,” said Felty.
In past years the organization has always had its own truck on display, however, it is currently undergoing $4,000 worth of repairs.
“The truck has issues with the brake line and power steering, as well as a cracked windshield and is in need of engine work,” said Felty. “We are grateful that the Ludlow Elks will pay for a U-Haul truck and is also supplying the volunteers for the drive.”
For persons who do not have household items to donate, cash donations can be dropped off, and gift cards from local stores including Walmart, Big Lots, Big Y and Stop & Shop are also welcome.
“People can also make cash donations online that will help us purchase gift cards to local businesses as well as help us to get the truck fixed,” said Felty.
For more information on the donation drive, call Stanley Park’s Development Office at (413) 568-9312, ext. 108, or contact Felty at (413) 626-5009.
On a related note, the organization is also in need of volunteers to help at the warehouses by cleaning, sorting, meeting with veterans and their families, and assisting in moving. For persons interested in becoming involved with Homeward Vets, send an email to Felty at [email protected] or visit www.homewardvets.org.