The Issue: Veterans Facing Mental and Economic Hardship
About 1.4 million veterans are considered at risk for homelessness, due to lack of support networks, poverty, and otherwise dismal living conditions, according to data cited by the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. This problem is compounded by the fact that unemployment for post-9/11 veterans remains at 10.9%, well above the national average. Additionally, 44% of returning veterans have reported difficulties ranging from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to depression, making it difficult to hold down a job and support their families.
The Campaign: Building Gardens to Support Veterans
All donations to this Grassroots campaign will be used by Seeds of Hope to build garden beds at Fisher House locations. Each bed requires six 8-foot-long wood planks ($100), 12 bags of soil ($100), six seed packets ($20), weed barriers ($10), plus nails, brackets, and screws ($18). For every $250 raised, Seeds of Hope can purchase all the materials needed to build one garden bed. Each Seeds of Hope garden typically contains two beds.
At Fisher Houses across the country, which are generally located near VA hospitals, Seeds of Hope partners Girl Scouts with veterans and their families. Together, they plant, maintain, and harvest crops at their homemade gardens, providing 50 pounds of produce each year for the veterans and the families and an educational experience for the girls. Gardening also provides a soothing pastime for veterans with PTSD. Seeds of Hope ultimately hopes to build gardens in 10 different states by the end of this year.
Seeds of Hope
As part of its efforts to raise awareness about the difficulties veterans face upon returning home, Seeds of Hope, a project of the Youth Advocacy League, creates community gardens to help support veterans and their families. Youth groups such as Girl Scouts work with veterans to plant and maintain the gardens. This partnership helps show appreciation for veterans while also providing powerful learning experiences for children and teens. The organization’s efforts caught the attention of TribLive after the group was honored in the Jefferson Awards for Public Service Youth Service Challenge.
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