Veterans Support Organization was started in Rhode Island in 2001, with a simple mission: establish a food bank for financially distressed or homeless veterans.
As time passed, though, we found that many veterans needed a lot more than just food. They came to us needing money to pay for utilities, homes, cars and other day-to-day expenses arising from their inability to find employment.
Our staff gave them small grants, but these payments weren’t enough. These veterans returned month after month with more requests for financial assistance to keep a roof over their heads or to survive in homeless camps.
We realized that financial assistance alone would not resolve their problems. They needed training to maintain steady employment, housing to live comfortably, and self-confidence to believe in themselves again.
Too often, these hardworking men and women had their lives torn apart because they returned home to a tough economy or struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other stress conditions related to their military duty.
As a result, VSO developed three core programs. Our work program gave them training and financial independence. Our housing program provided supportive transitional housing in a sober-living community. And our grants program offered financial aid to social centers and nonprofits serving veterans’ needs.
These programs are set up for veterans to help each other. They work together, often through teams, in gaining the employment training and life skills to become self-sufficient.
Through these initiatives, VSO has donated millions of dollars in cities across our nation and assisted thousands of veterans in restoring their lives.