Miami Dolphins join Bob Woodruff Foundation and partners for veterans food distribution
As part of an NFL-BWF Salute to Service partnership grant, Volunteers of America of Florida (VOAF) hosted a food drive in Miami, Florida for veterans and their families.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant effect on the veterans VOAF serves, impacting their financial stability and housing security. VOAF helps veterans and their families find safe and affordable housing and provides vital support services needed to stabilize. VOAF currently serves veterans in cities across Florida including Pensacola, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Ocala, Gainesville, Cocoa, Lake City, Sebring, Tampa, Miami, and Key West.
During the event, VOAF provided shelf stable food and coordinated with the community outreach service wing of the Miami Dolphins to bring on volunteers, pack food up in bags and hand it out to veterans experiencing homelessness. VOAF staff drove extra food out to other locations across the state. In total, the event provided food for over 200 veterans and their families. Miami Dolphins staff members and cornerback Keion Crossen came out to volunteer. Crossen’s mother is a veteran, and he has great respect for our military. Speaking about what the event meant to him, Crossen said, “service is not measured by how much we do for one another but what we do for one another with a servant and selfless mindset.”
Behind the scenes, VOAF’s programming is even more robust. VOAF’s drop-in center is co-located with a local VA office. Veterans were able to hang out in the social lounge at their drop-in-center, where they can come in for services, but also to be in community. An on-site service coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs provided resources to get veterans connected with programs. Volunteers were also able to see the transitional housing that they provided. This program provides case management, behavioral health services, employment services, emergency financial assistance, and housing for veterans working to transition out of homelessness. Long term the goal is for veterans to secure permanent housing.
“It was great to be on the ground with our partners, handing out food to meet an immediate need. But it was especially inspiring to see how our partnership with Volunteers of America of Florida, thanks to support from the NFL, is providing comprehensive support and a sense of community to these veterans,” said Emily Krause, Senior Program Officer Bob Woodruff Foundation.