CHICAGO — For the Canaryville Veterans Riders Association, their mission is to collect as many coats as possible for the city’s homeless veteran population.
Marine veteran and organizer Tommy Russell said the need just keeps getting greater with some veterans returning home after serving.
“You start off in life of people telling you want to do grammar school teachers telling what to do high school teachers then you go to the service and they’re telling you what do,” Russell said. “Then you come out and no one is telling you what to do. So sometimes, people just get lost and you never know with the demons or whatever else sometimes they bring them home with them.”
The following are drop off locations for the coats, Monday through Friday — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- The Village – 4035 S. Wallace.
- Mark White VFW Post – 3152 S. Wallace.
- 11th Ward Organization – 3659 S. Halsted.
- 9th District police station – 3120 S. Halsted. — 24 hours a day.
Tony La Piana, the president of Guardian Corps of America, seeks out local homeless veterans with his canine companion Sgt. Babe.
“We are a direct outreach organization,” La Piana said. “We have boots on the ground, our members, we provide non-perishable food, clothing, sleeping gear.”
It’s estimated there are currently at least 2,200 homeless veterans in Cook County alone.