During the winter months, though some people celebrate the holiday season, others may be facing seasonal struggles.
DuBois Vet Center Outreach Program Specialist David Grey, who travels to local facilities such as American Legions and reaches out to make connections, said counselors know that the holiday season might be a little tougher for veterans.
“The counselors remain busy providing world-class counseling for veterans,” Grey said. “They know that during this time of year, some veterans may require a little more attention than others and are cognizant of that. So they stay on the lookout for them, and ensure they are getting what they need.”
There are 300 vet centers across the country, nine of which are in Pennsylvania. Through four veterans counselors, the DuBois center covers 12 counties, with access points in some areas, such as Veterans Administration clinics and hospitals, Grey said.
He recommends donating to local charities and supporters of veterans, Grey said, giving canned food donations, clothing or hygiene items to local food banks that distribute items to people in need.
Krupa Steele, Director of Jefferson County Veterans Services, said the needs of local veterans stay fairly consistent throughout the year, but some may face depression or difficulty around the holidays.
The Jefferson County DVA assists and advocates for veterans applying for state, federal and county benefits, while also referring them to other helpful organizations, according to www.jeffersoncountypa.com.
Although there is a fairly low homeless veterans rate in Jefferson County, there are many organizations that partner to help the veterans population, Steele said.
For those seeking to sit down and talk to someone, the Mahoning Valley VFW Post 2076 in Punxsutawney has a social event on the fourth Tuesday of the month, Steele says, and a “Saturday Night Out” get together as well.
She also refers veterans to Community Action, Inc. of Punxsutawney, Steele says.
“They are really good about helping vets with any homeless-type issues,” she said. “We all kind of just work together to get these vets in the right direction.”
Many people might experience depression during the winter months, Steele says, which is why it’s important to help one another.
“Sometimes, just lending an ear to someone to talk to can do a lot,” she said.
For more information, visit www.jeffersoncountypa.com/veterans-affairs.