The Pennies from Heaven Drive is still in full-force, so for those carrying around spare change now is the time to unload it and assist the Tri-County Veterans’ Stand Down in the process.
The Stand Down is an annual event that benefits local veterans and their dependents. The two-day event will take place Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21 and 22 at the Northeast Washington Fairgrounds in Colville.
Now through the month of August, the Stand Down committee is holding a Pennies from Heaven drive to raise funds to help cover the Stand Down’s expenses.
The drive consists of combat boots displayed at local businesses (including the Statesman-Examiner). Those wishing to contribute can drop whatever monetary amount they feel like into the boot. After the boot is filled, a representative from the Stand Down committee will retrieve the boot from the business and deposit the money in the Stand Down’s bank account.
“For those who know about putting on a large event like this, you need to know what your budget is in advance,” says Tri-County Veterans Stand Down Chair Kathy Callan. “In order to make this event bigger and provide more services to our veterans, we need more money, and we didn’t want to go door-to-door to businesses because times are tough and a lot of them area already strapped for cash. We thought this (Pennies from Heaven Drive) would be a good way to ask local merchants and the community to please help.”
Last year’s event served over 1,500 veterans
With an average budget of $25,000 to $30,000 (insurance, facility rentals, food for two days, etc.), funding is crucial to the event’s operations. The only difficulty is that some of the funding is not guaranteed, and even if it does come through in the form of grants, it usually isn’t until three months or a week prior to the event.
“What usually happens is that the board spends all year planning for the Stand Down, we have it, make sure it runs smoothly, clean up after it, and then the whole process starts again,” explains Callan.
Callan adds that the non-profit organization usually gets a grant for $15,000 from the United States Department of Labor on a yearly basis, but the funds don’t arrive until a week before the actual Stand Down. A $10,000 Homeless Veterans grant is also given from the VA Hospital in Spokane, but that doesn’t arrive until three months before the event.
Neither grant covers the cost of the lunch and snacks that volunteers serve attendees both days, or the food baskets that are prepared in advance for homeless veterans. The cost of meals both days equals around $5,500, while the food baskets come to about $2,500.
Last year’s Stand Down serviced over 1,500 veterans and their dependents, according to Callan. This year, the committee would like to have a bus that provides transportation to the Stand Down for veterans from outlying areas that don’t have the means to travel to Colville for Stand Down.
“It’s important to us that people know we are available to help our veterans in other capacities, not just at the Stand Down,” states Callan. “Anything we can do to help, particularly for those veterans returning from Iraq, we want people to know that we’re here.”
For more information about the Pennies from Heaven Drive, the Tri-County Veterans Stand Down, or how you can volunteer, call Callan at 684-3486 or Vice-Chair Jerry
Keller at 675-8235.
“We have really been supported by these businesses and would like them to know we appreciate their patriotism and support,” says Callan.
Sandy's Drive In
American West Bank
Hub Insurance (AIA)
T.J.'s Bar and Restaurant
Healthy Expressions Dental
Lawson Chiropractic Clinic
The Painted Nail
Carefree Hair Salon
Carey's Auto Body
R.E. Lee Shoes
Clark's All Sport
Dodson's Paint and Glass
Arden One Stop
Akers Drug Store
American Legion Post #54
Ace Hardware (Sety's)
Onion Creek Store-Onion Creek V
FW Post 3067- Deer Park
VFW Post #51- Spokane