Veterans United Home Loans employees pledge $2.7 million for 2013, surprise Columbia military charity with $20,000
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Just prior to Welcome Home Inc.'s annual resident Christmas party this afternoon, more than 20 Veterans United Home Loans employees joined with the nonprofit to highlight the crisis of veterans homelessness, which has gone up 5.5 percent in Missouri, and to do something about it.
Veterans United delivered a moving truck loaded with Christmas presents to the 10 veterans who live at Welcome Home, Columbia's only shelter and transitional housing center focused on veterans. Additionally, Veterans United made a surprise $20,000 donation for 2013 to the military charity stemming from the success of the company's annual fundraising campaign that raised $2.7 million for its charitable arm, Veterans United Foundation.
"Veterans homelessness is a Columbia, a Missouri and a national crisis that our employees are passionate about impacting," said Megan Sievers, director of Veterans United Foundation. "It's not about how much we raised, it's about what we do with it, so today, we are honored to double our donation from last year to Welcome Home to $20,000 for 2013. We believe in Welcome Home's mission and what it does for Columbia - enable homeless veterans to return to society as productive, self-supporting citizens."
Welcome Home, located at 1206 Rangeline Street, has served 43 residents this year as of Sept. 30.
"The support of Veterans United Home Loans and these employees is essential in providing the resources necessary to serve veterans who are experiencing difficulty," said Aneisa Sherrill-Mattox, executive director of Welcome Home. "These efforts help us serve those who served, help us get them the services they need and eventually help them live independently."
Since its founding in November 2011, $6.2 million has been donated and pledged to Veterans United Foundation exclusively from Veterans United Home Loans and its employees.
On Dec. 10, the United States Department of Veterans Affairs released a report showing veterans homelessness had dropped by 7 percent nationwide from January 2011 to January 2012, but had increased 5.5 percent in Missouri. Veterans homelessness is also known to be underreported.
"Veterans need extra love, extra support and a hand up," Sievers said. "Veterans United and its employees are committed to that cause."
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