In Ohio, churches and ministries are reaching out to help veterans. This week, small groups from Fairfield Christian Church of Lancaster, Ohio, met to prepare care packages for a group of eight veterans coming to live in a home recently purchased by Lutheran Social Services.
The congregation at Fairfield just finished a six-week sermon series called “Project Restoration” promoting small groups and encouraging involvement in the community. Over 25 groups within the church are involved in the project. The groups each choose a local ministry, or create their own, in which they go out into the community and meet specific needs.
Executive Pastor of Fairfield Ken Mulpas and his small group decided to work with LSS’ veterans’ home for their project. The group has “a number of members who have relatives who have served,” and they felt a strong push to help out these veterans, Mulpas told The Christian Post.
The small group put together packets last night with supplies like body wash, towels, and toiletries, to help meet the personal needs of the vets. Many of the veterans “come out of a situation where they are homeless. They often come with only what they have on their back,” Mulpas said. This is why the bags of personal items are so important in helping them get back on their feet in the initial stages of their stay at the home.
He also noted that his small group will continue with the project as needs arise. Especially as new residents move, more packets will have to be made.
David Bridges, another Fairfield member, said his small group also “decided to make welcome bags for the men.” His group received a list from LSS and each person bought different items from the list. They then filled the bags with toiletries, paper and stamps for them to send letters to relatives, and a Bible.
The veterans’ home is still undergoing renovations, but Eddie Rapp, director of LSS for Fairfield County, told The Christian Post they are hoping to open at the beginning of December. The Art Keiffer House, as it will be called, was named in honor of a local retired veteran and will house eight homeless veterans from the Fairfield area.
Lutheran Social Services pooled together grant money from the Veterans Administration and its agency to buy the home. The VA will pay for 65 percent of the $165,000 project, with LSS covering the remainder of the costs. Costs include purchasing and remodeling, utilities, food and the salary for the LSS employee that will live at the home.
Rapp says the men can stay in this program up to two years and they will provide intensive case management. LSS will work on different life skills like budgeting and interviewing, and will also help vets work through issues affecting them from becoming self-sufficient.
“Here in Fairfield County there is a high number of vets and homeless individuals. One out of every five homeless [persons] is a vet,” said Rapp, adding that the community recognizes the great need to help these vets.
“Vets get a lot of support,” Rapp said, especially because many of them didn’t have that support when they first came back from war.