PEMBROKE — Homeless veterans will have a place to go on Saturday to eat, clean up and get some help.
The Veterans Administration Homeless Stand Down starts at 9 a.m. at the Pembroke Boys & Girls Club at 120 Youth Drive in Pembroke. The event, coordinated by the Lumbee Tribe, will offer veterans access to health care and dental services, free clothes, free hygiene items, and free haircuts.
“Unless I’m mistaken, the Robeson Community College folks will be there to cut hair for us,” said Jinnie Lowery, the tribe’s Information Technology manager.
The tribe would welcome local barbers and hair stylists coming to the event to donate their time, said Lowery, who is helping coordinate the Stand Down and recruiting agencies and people to participate and offer goods and services.
“It’s been fun, though,” Lowery said.
Participating agencies will work with the veterans to assess their health-care needs and link them up with other agencies that provide health-care and dental services, she said. Other agencies will try to find housing for the veterans.
“We want there to be as many agencies as possible there to help them find housing,” Lowery said.
This would be the fifth or sixth Stand Down held in Pembroke, Lowery said. She has been working for the Lumbee tribe only since December, so isn’t sure how many have been held.
The first Stand Down was held in 1988 in San Diego. In 2002 the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans became the lead agency for Stand Down events across the United States. The coalition offers information on how communities can effectively stage events. The federal Veterans Administration is an active partner.
“In other words, it has their blessing,” Lowery said.
Other Stand Down activities include welcoming remarks by tribal Chairman Harvey Godwin Jr. and Elizabeth Goolsby, director of the VA Medical Center in Fayetteville. The featured speaker will be Jim Prosser, assistant secretary for Military and Veterans Affairs. Lunch will be served at noon.
For information on how to donate to or participate in the Stand Down, call Lowery at 910-827-2662.
Reach T.C. Hunter at 910-816-1974.