Several Milford area businesses and organizations join State Representative Bryan Shupe in the Pack-A-Purse for Vets campaign. During the months of July and August, families are being asked to pack an old purse that is sitting in their garage, basement or attic with items to help homeless female veterans at the Home of the Brave in Milford.
Home of the Brave was founded in 1992 by eight Vietnam Veterans, including Lesley Stephenson, Bruce Hickman, Edward Moczulski, Elden Adkins, Ben Shaw, Steve Spicer, Jeff Stewart and Russ Burgess. The eight men saw a need to help some of their fellow veterans who had fallen on hard times. Initially, the organization only had a shelter for men but a new female shelter was completed next door to the male facility in 2017. The women’s shelter holds up to eight people including children.
Both shelters require a veteran to be honorably discharged from the service and they are provided services designed to help them end their homeless situation. Although veterans are permitted to remain in the shelter for two years, most remain for only six to nine months.
“Most of them come to us with just the clothes on their backs,” Jessica Finan, Executive Director of the Home of the Brave, said. “They have nothing when they arrive. Some of the women are fleeing abusive relationships while others have simply fallen on hard times. We can also use Walmart gift cards that the women can use to buy personal items like bras or underwear. The veterans also use DART bus passes to get to job interviews, to a job or to run errands.”
Drop-off locatioins for the Pack-A-Purse for Vets campaign, including Milford Police Department, Milford Public Library, Planet Fitness in Milford, Eagle 97.7, Fur-Baby Pet Resort, Tatiana Akinfieva Dance Academy and Dolce Bakery & Coffee Shop.
“At Dolce, our vision is to positively change your day after walking through our doors,” Stephanie Tatman, co-owner of Dolce, said. “We frequently share this vision with others in our community and have worked with the Home of the Brave on a number of occasion because we value their members’ service to our country. This particular event provides an opportunity to restore confidence in our female veterans through the simple act of carrying a pretty purse and having their own personal hygiene items.”
Chief of Police Kenneth Brown agrees with Tatman that one of the reasons Milford Police Department agreed to be a drop off location is to show appreciation for the service provided by veterans.
“We appreciate every single veteran for what they do or have done for us,” Chief Brown said. “We want to be a part of helping them now. I believe that we are not only public servants, we are community partners. ” I want us to be able to help the community in every way we can. We have participated in many ways to improve or assist our community, including allowing these types of drop off boxes to be placed in our lobby. This makes perfect sense since we are open 24/7 and staffed by persons eager to help whenever someone comes in.”