Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

Homeless veterans received food, clothing, medical and dental care as the 28th Stand Down — an annual event to help indigent vets in San Diego — got underway Friday on the upper athletic fields at San Diego High School.

“I get the chance to give back,” volunteer Rachel Vence, a Coast Guard and Navy veteran, told NBC7/39. “It’s an opportunity to get their smiles, a twinkle in their eyes, knowing that they’re coming to a safe place for a short period of time, even if that’s all they have.”

A count of the region’s homeless in January found that 15.4 percent had once served in the military, out of a total of more than 8,700 people living on the streets or in shelters.

Since the Veterans Village of San Diego started Stand Down in 1988, it has spread around the country — with around 200 events annually, according to the organization.

Last year, nearly 900 veterans were served at San Diego’s Stand Down. The VVSD reported the number of individual men who were served declined from past years, but the count of families in need of services was higher.

—City News Service