Veterans Day has passed, but the holidays are rapidly approaching, and students, faculty and community members still have the opportunity to help homeless veterans enjoy the holidays.
Every year, the Weber State University Veterans Upward Bound office collects shoeboxes for veterans filled with essential items such as toiletries, shoes, winter clothing and nonperishable foods, then delivers them to veterans who are homeless or in retirement homes.
“We are receiving an average of around 300 boxes that are donated each year . . . we really appreciate all the donations we receive,” said Randy Wilson, the director for Veterans Upward Bound.
This fall season kicks off the 12th annual Shoeboxes for Veterans drive. Each year, Veterans Upward Bound puts on the drive to help veterans in the area who are in need during the holiday season.
Many older veterans who have fought for the United States are living on the streets, and the shoebox drive is one way the community can give back to those who proudly served the country.
Veterans Upward Bound collects these shoeboxes up to Dec. 11, giving the coordinators time to figure out where the boxes will eventually go. The boxes will be delivered from the Ogden area to the Salt Lake City area.
Faculty members in the Student Success Center are encouraged to help with the shoeboxes. They help get items for the boxes and submit their donations to the Veterans Upward Bound office.
“Our office usually has a few different projects where we are able to give back during the holidays,” said Camille Gooch, associate director of the Student Success Center. “One of those is shoeboxes for veterans. I have been doing it for the past three or four years.”
Most of the items asked for aren’t large or expensive, but simple things that can fit into a shoebox. In the past, donations have varied from candy to small decorations, leaving it up to those donating to put their own flair into their contributions.
“It’s nice to be able to give back, even if they are simple things that you provide for these people who don’t have much,” Gooch said. “It is just nice to be able to provide a little something for them during the holiday season.”
Those interested in donating can contact the Veterans Upward Bound office, located in Annex 12.
“The veterans are very important to our country,” said WSU alumnus Jean Corey. “They protect the freedom of our country, and they deserve special help, because many of them suffer because of the experiences they had while serving.”