WENATCHEE — An annual veterans stand down has been expanded to two days this year.
The event will be held 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Wenatchee National Guard Armory, 1230 Fifth St.
Stand downs are events held to help and provide services to homeless or needy military veterans. Free military clothing and other items are available, as well as food, shelter, health screenings, VA benefits and assistance, counseling and referrals to many other services, including housing, employment and substance abuse treatment. More than 30 agencies and organizations plan to have tables at the event.
Stand downs are collaborative events, bringing offers of help from many services, agencies and individuals in support of veterans in need, said Thad Lawson, executive director for Operation Veterans Assistance and Humanitarian Aid, the organization that is coordinating the Wenatchee stand down for the fourth year.
“The main purpose of the stand down is to connect veterans with services and find out what kind of help they need,” Lawson said. The stand down is open to any U.S. veteran, including those who have received less than an honorable discharge.
Lawson said last year’s event drew more than 1,100 veterans in a single day. He hopes numbers will increase to more than 1,500 veterans and family members for this year’s two-day event. Lawson hopes to eventually set up a year-around food and clothing bank and thrift store to help veterans.
The event centers on homeless veterans, providing them with the services and the means to survive in the homeless environments.