San Diego Veterans For Peace “Compassion Campaign” Update
by Gil Field
The San Diego Veterans For Peace “Compassion Campaign,” an outreach effort to give a sleeping bag set to each of the 9000+ homeless in San Diego, began in December 2010 and continues indefinitely.
Convinced that homelessness is one of the many costs of war, the outreach effort began after active veterans in the San Diego Veterans For Peace chapter became alarmed at the life-threatening living conditions homeless veterans and others endure on the streets and under the interstate overpasses in downtown San Diego.
Once learning from homeless veterans on the street that every homeless person in San Diego needed a sleeping bag, a waterproof poncho, and a waterproof stuff sack, the San Diego chapter began seeking donations and purchasing and delivering sleeping bags sets to the homeless. Bag sets are always hand delivered, with each person receiving a set being evaluated for true need. Chapter veterans go out in 2 or 3 car caravans late at night and also hand out used clothing, water, and food that is donated by members, friends, and generous people in the community.
The cost to the chapter of sleeping bags sets is now only $33 per set, as chapter members now buy all products in large quantities directly from the Coleman Company in Colorado, having previously purchased them locally from several vendors in San Diego and Los Angeles.
As of June 15th, 2013, over 1700 sleeping bag sets had been individually delivered to homeless veterans and non-veterans alike, all made available by public donations.
The “Compassion Campaign” has been featured on local television station reports as well as radio spots and print media articles in and around San Diego. Additionally, the campaign was featured on the Huffington Post website and many other on-line websites and newspapers.
Chapter veterans of all five services and supporting associate members continue to provide this extremely important outreach to the homeless population each week, and hope to expand the scope of the effort as donations allow.
Tax-deductible donations may be made online or may be mailed to: SDVFP, 12932 Sunderland Street, Poway, CA 92064. All donors receive a special card of thanks and a receipt for tax purposes. 858-342-1964.