I couldn’t let Veteran’s Day pass without highlighting the amazing work of a group of veterans from Missouri. Their organization is called Veterans Community Project, and they recently dedicated land for their newest location near the VA hospital in St. Louis.
Fifty tiny homes will comprise the village they are building to serve as transitional housing for homeless veterans around the St. Louis area. The village provides what is known as wrap-around services. This means that they don’t just provide housing, they also provide case management that helps with all facets of life. This includes computer literacy, money management, cooking classes, and the list goes on.
This village is an impactful way for the community to come together to support our veterans in need. In the Kansas City village, they have businesses that frequently come to provide services. They have weekly dog training classes from a local dog trainer, a dentist who comes and provides them with all the dental care they need, food trucks that come out and feed the veterans, plus tons more. It is truly an incredible community experience.
To date, the Kansas City project has helped over 4000 veterans through their outreach center and tiny home project!
The outreach center is an essential part of their mission. One of their big goals is to provide support to veterans before they become homeless. According to Chief Development Officer Vanessa Van Goethem-Piela, helping a veteran with $800 worth of rent is a great investment because once they become homeless, the cost to help them increases to over $35,000.
They also help vets navigate a complicated VA health system. This is truly a life-saving organization!
When I first heard about this project coming to St. Louis I knew I had to get involved. I reached out right away to volunteer my services as a quilter. I was quickly joined by a large group of amazing folks from the quilting community, and we will be providing a brand new handmade quilt for each and every home. You can learn more about the project here.
I recently visited the village in Kansas City to get a tour and see what a finished village is like. The team told me how meaningful these quilts are. They help make the tiny home feel even more like a home, and each quilt has a patch from the quilter expressing their love and support for the veteran.
The outpouring of love and support for this quilt project was immediate and unbelievable. We had tons of fabric donated (by Riley Blake and Art Gallery Fabrics.) We have a group of almost 100 people who will be completing all aspects of the quilt. This includes many local quilters and a handful of local longarmers who will provide their services free of charge. The Gentleman Quilter, Trace Creek Quilting, Mist Flower Quilt Studio, and The Sewing Basket are just a few of the longarmers helping with the project!
These villages are a real tangible way for anyone to get involved and support a veteran, especially since we can’t stand up and clap at a baseball game right now!
Volunteers completed over 70% of the Kansas City village; I hope you’re ready, St. Louis!! When the time comes to start swinging hammers, it will be all hands on deck.
Before then, the most pressing need is monetary support, so if you have a business or want to run a fundraiser, now is a great time to get to work! Check out VCP to help support their mission and Inspire Up to help support our quilt drive.