Coat Drive for Veterans to be Held at Friday's Football Game Between Grayslake Central and Grayslake North
The Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County is seeking the community's help in collecting winter coats for veterans at Friday's Rams vs Knights football game. Donations can also be dropped-off at the Grayslake Police Department.
The Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County is collecting coats for its annual Veteran's "Stand Down," a military term defined as "a refitting or resetting for the next mission."
It is an opportunity for federal, state, county and local organizations to work together to address the increasing need of assisting military veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, and who may need additional assistance during difficult times.
According to Mike Peck, Director of the Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County, “The need has increased. I am expecting 300 veterans this year.”
With winter approaching, said Peck, the commission is working to collect coats to help homeless at at-risk veterans stay warm and keep their dignity.
Per the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), Lake County has about 4,500 unemployed veterans and a veteran homeless population that fluctuates between 60-100 persons at any given time, noted Peck.
In previous years, a Libertyville-area resident personally funded the component of providing winter clothing. However, with a worsening economy, the individual was unable to continue with his generous donation. Coordinators had two options: move ahead without the component of issuing the coats or network to find additional support to meet the need.
The football program at Grayslake North and Grayslake Central High Schools were the first to start collecting coats for veterans in need during their annual rivalry game.
"I am not surprised. This spirit is what makes our community special," said Grayslake Police Chief Phil Perlini. "We take care of our own."
"We will have a collection bin in our lobby and collect as much as we can. The Village of Grayslake is ready to work on this," said Det. Sgt. Jeff Myrha.
Grayslake North Football Coach Steve Wood added, “The kids look forward to the coat drive every year. It is a great way to show their appreciation for the men and women who have given us the opportunity to pursue our passions and everyday lives.”
For every coat or clothing item donated and not selected by a veteran during the Stand Down, the item is collected by the Salvation Army, who in return makes a donation to the Veterans Assistance Commission for use by veterans when needing future emergency assistance.
The Vernon Hills Police Department and Veterans Assistance Commission of Lake County provided this information.