Indy volunteers stuff backpacks to help homeless veterans

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.– The Indianapolis Rotary Club spent the afternoon filling backpacks for Indianapolis’ homeless veteran population.

Rotary Club members and students at the Christel House Academy Interact Club filled more than 180 backpacks for HVAF of Indiana, Inc.

This is HVAF’s  second year hosting the backpack packing event.

Brian Copes, the president and CEO of HVAF of Indiana, Inc., said the organization served more than 1,900 homeless and at-risk veterans in 2017.

“When you’re living in a cardboard box, when you’re sleeping under tarp and a grocery cart; the things we take for granted every day are coveted luxuries to someone that’s living in that environment,” said Copes. “It has a tremendous impact to them.”

More than 80 volunteers helped fill hygiene items, blankets, socks, and other essentials into backpacks. Each backpack was also packed with a personalized thank you note and American flag.

“There’s still people out there, veterans that still need assistance,” said US Army veteran, Whitney Hamilton.

Whitney Hamilton

Hamilton received assistance from HVAF four years ago when he found himself living on the streets. On Tuesday, he helped give back to the organization that gave him a second chance.

Whitney Hamilton

“I remember when I was homeless, a dry pair of socks or some deodorant; those are the things people that aren’t in that position take for granted and they need,” said Hamilton. “It’s a big help.”

Vasthy Avila is a junior at Christel House Academy. She helped fill dozens of backpacks along with her classmates.

“It kind of gives you a really great perspective of things,” said Avila. “Just being here today kind of gives you a life lesson that as much as you can help, do that for sure.”

Next week, members of the Rotary Club will distribute the filled backpacks to homeless veterans.

To learn more about helping homeless veterans here in Indianapolis, click here.