LOCAL CHARITIES WE SUPPORT
HOMELESS VETERANS, GENERAL NEEDS
The primary mission of General Needs is to assist homeless veterans & veterans in need to live lives of dignity by
• Daily-living clothing: underwear, socks, tee-shirts, bras, towels
• Cold weather items: coats, jackets, hats, scarves, ski gloves, thermal underwear/socks, sweatshirts, sweatpants,
• Warm weather items: graphic tee-shirts, shorts
• Footwear: winter waterproof boots, sneakers, summer sandals, shower flip flops
• Toiletries: soap, shampoo, toothbrushes/toothpaste, deodorant, razors, powder, sunscreen
• Gear: large duffle for relocation, backpack, small duffle bag, string bag, personal toiletry bag
A secondary mission is to aid homeless veterans, veterans in need as well as their families by providing:
• New beds and other household items to veterans moving into housing based on a veteran agency referral.
Having the basic household items (bed frame/mattress/box spring, bedding, towels, small kitchen appliances
such as microwave, coffee maker, can opener as well as dishes, glasses, flatware, pots/pans and other
kitchenware) would grant a formerly homeless veteran a fresh start & empower successful independent living.
In 2008, General Needs founder Lonnie Sherman volunteered at a monthly “hot meal” service at the Northport VA Medical Center in a veteran’s emergency homeless shelter. Lonnie noticed during the November-December some civic groups and individuals came in to offer clothing and coats to the residents in the shelter.
These veterans are housed for up to 90 days while undergoing treatment for PTSD, Substance Abuse, Mental and Physical therapies as well as Medical Procedures. However, in January, and the rest of the year, little was offered by to assist the veterans. In conversations with the veterans and the social work staff it became obvious that the residents needed simple, everyday items such as underwear, socks and t-shirts; stuff that was rarely donated to the shelter.
In soliciting family, friends and business associates for support, Lonnie would ask “doesn’t everybody like to open a fresh, new bag of underwear?” He would pool donations of these basic undergarments and money (including from his own pocket) until he had accumulated and purchased enough items to service 40-45 veterans. He would pack the clothing in reusable shopping bags and thus provide a “Distribution with Dignity” by handing out new, much-needed, appropriately sized goods for the veterans. Lonnie always included a smile and a look in the eye while providing a heartfelt “thank you for your service” handshake. Lonnie became known as “the underwear man.”
Distributions went from sporadic to quarterly to monthly with the assistance of family and friends’ participation in this cause. In time Lonnie came to understand these veterans lacked many other basic necessities such as toiletries, seasonally appropriate clothing, footwear, etc. Lonnie’s solicitations for support led to increased donations the eventual result of which became better service to our veterans by Lonnie’s organization, General Needs!
In May 2015, General Needs Ltd. became a federal 501(C)(3) Non-Profit Charitable organization. In addition, General Needs Ltd. applied and was granted the Certificate for Not-for-Profit Registration from Suffolk Count Veterans Service Agency and is registered with the New York State office of the Attorney General. General Needs now services “monthly” Veterans housed at Emergency Shelters for Homeless Veterans from Brooklyn/Queens to Riverhead.
General Needs draws its support from Long Islanders who are compassionate and concerned about those who have served our country. We draw no salaries nor take any goods or money collected for personal benefit.
OPERATION HEAL OUR HEROES
It is our mission to end veteran suicide.
Many Americans are unaware of the fact that every single day nearly 20 military veterans are lost to suicide. There are two fundamental reasons for this tragic issue.
The first is because the transition back to “normal life” can often be a difficult journey; even more difficult is for a veteran, trained as a warrior, to acknowledge that they are struggling and need help. One of our goals is to raise awareness about these issues to make civilians and veterans alike understand that it’s ok to ask for help.
The second reason for this problem is because our government programs and facilities have not demonstrated the capacity to meet the needs of our veterans after they leave the military. Thus, our second primary goal is to raise funds to provide veterans with the resources and private support services necessary to facilitate their transition ‘all the way home’.
Operation: Heal Our Heroes has partnered with organizations that can effectively provide the attention and care required for the thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who have endured and continue to bear the psychological burdens associated with our country’s time at war.
If our efforts can help save the life of just one more of our nation’s heroes, then we have accomplished our goal.