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EDITORIAL: Standing (up) Down for area veterans

South Bend Tribune - 10/2/2018

Oct. 02--This year's Michiana Military Stand Down was the most successful yet, helping more than 700 people -- including homeless vets and veterans returning from deployment -- connect with social service agencies that provide needed help.

"It was outstanding," said Kent Laudeman, director of the Robert L. Miller Sr. Veteran's Center, who helped coordinate the event. "We ran out of everything because of the excellent response."

Homeless vets, returning veterans, volunteers and others were treated to box lunches, free haircuts, flu shots and a host of other services.

Sixty agencies took part in the Stand Down. Veterans in need picked up donations of clothing, hygiene items and nonperishable foods.

Key to the success was having the Stand Down in the parking lot of the St. Joseph County VA Health Care Center in Mishawaka, where vets could get the immediate help they needed while also learning about the services provided by the VA Center.

This year's Stand Down was the sixth.

Its continued growth shows the commitment agencies and volunteers have in helping our local veterans.

----When the Near Northwest Neighborhood Inc. began the Arts Café, there were three goals leaders hoped to accomplish.

They wanted to promote the neighborhood's affordable housing, engage neighbors, both longtime residents and those new to the area, and serve as an advocate for those living in the city's near northwest side.

This year's event checked all those boxes.

Kathy Schuth, executive director of NNN Inc., said more than 1,000 people took part in the festivities on Sunday, surpassing expectations. This year's event was the 15th.

There were 25 art vendors selling everything from pottery to paintings to photography, as well as musicians who performed throughout the day and an urban garden farmer's market.

The highlight was the 20-minute hayride that took people through the neighborhood to see the area's affordable housing options.

There were three rehabilitated homes, two newly constructed homes and one Carter Work Project home. All are single-family homes built for low- to moderate-income families.

"We want people to fully understand the work we're doing," Schuth said.

With games for children and offerings of arts and homeownership for adults, the latest Arts Café struck just the right balance of promoting what South Bend has to offer while celebrating one of its most historical and diverse neighborhoods.


(c)2018 the South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Ind.)

Visit the South Bend Tribune (South Bend, Ind.) at www.southbendtribune.com

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