South Dakota American Legion Family provides home starter kits for veterans

Posted On: Wednesday, 24 April 2024

The American Legion Family in Spearfish, S.D., recently joined forces to collect donations and prepare home starter kits that include kitchen, bathroom, and bedding items to take to the Support Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) of the Cornerstone Mission in Rapid City.
The Cornerstone Rescue Mission administers the SSVF program through a supportive services grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) across South Dakota. The SSVF program focuses on intensive case management to help very low-income veteran families increase their ability to sustain permanent housing and reach their greatest potential.
On a recent visit with the SSVF director, Micheline Nelson, Spearfish American Legion Auxiliary Unit 164 president, learned the program was out of home starter kits for families and was in urgent need of the items. 
Nelson prepared a list of the items needed to assemble starter kits and shared the project at the Legion Family post, squadron, unit, and chapter monthly meetings. In addition, Nelson shared the project on social media and The American Legion Family reached out to other veterans service organizations for assistance as well.
Sons of The American Legion Adjutant Doug Henwood secured donations from the Saint Vincent de Paul store for kitchen kits, and Derek Besler of The American Legion post secured 15 bags of bedding, hotel towels, and washcloths from hotels in the Deadwood area. In addition to donations from individual members and monetary commitments from the Legion Family, they were able to compile seven starter kits to take to Cornerstone Mission. The Queen City Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5860 also partnered with the Spearfish American Legion Family and gave three more sets.
Nelson said it took a caravan of two pickups and two cars to load all of the baskets and bags. 
“The saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’ applies to this project,” she said. “It took the whole American Legion Family to give hope and healing to veterans in need.”
In addition to this project, Nelson said Auxiliary Unit 164 delivers gift bags on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Veterans Day, and Independence Day. The Spearfish American Legion Family will continue to help with starter kits for the project, and other Auxiliary units in the area have signed on to provide donations.

ALA Mission

In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.