Veterans group hosts emergency fundraiser to help provide essentials to homeless vets amid COVID-19 crisis

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A Los Angeles-based group is stepping up to help local homeless veterans.

New Directions for Veterans is holding an emergency fundraiser to help provide clothing, hygiene products and other resources to help vets living on the streets.

"During my 20 years in the Marine Corps we were always taught never leave a Marine behind both in garrison and in the combat zone," Leonardo Cuadrado, retired captain for the Marines Corps (USMC) and Executive Director for New Directions for Veterans said. "These veterans have served our nation honorably and it's time for us as a nation not to leave any veteran behind."

Cuadrado said they the emergency fundraiser was to talk about the COVID-19 crisis.

"This is a very unique situation, we've never had this type of fundraiser before," said Cuadrado. "The veterans that we serve are at highest risk because they're out on the streets, they're homeless and so they're being exposed everywhere they go. And so, we're trying to get all those veterans in a safe place."

The items New Directions for Veterans group needs are face masks, gloves, sanitation equipment and anti-bacterial soaps. The group's executive director says everyday essentials, such as underwear, socks, sheets, and pillows are also needed.

"The whole gamut. Some that think, 'I've been in a wartime situation. I wasn't killed, you know, by combat. How is this virus gonna kill me?' and so we're trying to get those veterans to understand that maybe they're not gonna die from this," Cuadrado said. "But maybe other veterans that are more delicate, more fragile, older population that we currently also house could get the virus."

The public can help through online and in-person donations. Cuadrado says any contributions, in-kind donations - anything makes a difference.

For more information on how to help or donate, visit: ndvets.org
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