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Veterans Village still needs $100K for Stand Down event

Event helps homeless veterans get off the streets
Posted at 7:29 AM, May 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-03 09:47:14-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - With just three weeks to go, the Veterans Village of San Diego says they're about $100,000 short on cash donations for this year's "Stand Down" event.

Stand Down, now in its 32nd year, is a weekend-long event that helps homeless veterans connect to all the services they need to get off the streets.

Program Director Darcy Pavich says people and companies across San Diego typically donate about $750,000 worth of in-kind donations and $190,000 in cash each year. While the in-kind contributions are on track, the cash is short. Pavich says that means they won't be able to buy a lot of the items that can't be donated.

"What we won't have is things like the tables and chairs, cots to sleep on, some the structure that we build that we have to purchase," she says.

Around 800 homeless veterans go to the Stand Down event each year. Marine Corps Veteran Ritesh Kumar Patel says it was the difference between him living on the streets and getting his life back together.

"It was mind-blowing," he says of the amount of help he got. "I was on the verge of dying, and I didn't realize it, and I didn't know, and I didn't know there was help out there."

Patel has been living at the Veterans Village for three years now. He's recovering from drug and alcohol addiction and PTSD. He's also studying for a bachelor's degree in business.

He says Stand Down made it all possible.

"I've seen the benefits that you can get by just being willing to listen," says Patel. "My life has changed."

Pavich says she believes donations are down because the event has been moved to earlier in the year. Traditionally, it has been held on the same weekend as Comic-Con in late July. Last year, the VVSD moved it to late June. Pavich thinks people who wait until the last minute to send donations don't know about the earlier date.

"Stand Down is the in-road to saving lives," she says. "When we can offer someone their life back, you can't put a dollar value on that. But we need dollars to make that happen."

The VVSD is still accepting donations through their website, or you can call Lisa Record at 619-393-2000 to make a donation over the phone.