CLEVELAND — On any given night in the United States, as many as 40,000 veterans are homeless, the Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates.
In Cleveland, Anne Marie Roeder decided to start helping veterans from the bottom up. She runs the Socks 4 Soldiers program at Gray's Armory. Socks are the most requested but least donated item in homeless shelters.
"It’s difficult for people to wash socks and wear socks at the same time,” Roeder said. “They get dirty, they get grungy."
She and other volunteers also collect underwear, hygiene items and even snacks.
"Take care of your feet, your feet will take care of your body,” said volunteer Michael Lavrenchik. He is a veteran himself, and now he's now reaching out to others to lead them to recovery and resources.
"It’s my way to give back to the community," he said.
This latest load of donations will go to Hands On Northeast Ohio for its annual Homeless Stand Down.
The massive one-day event this Saturday will help connect people in need.
“When they're ready to seek out help, there’s help available,” Lavrenchik said.
News 5 is hosting a phone bank Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. to help HandsOn’s Homeless Stand Down event. Tune in to News 5 during this time for the number to call to donate.
This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.