EDWARDSVILLE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — It’s the time of year to give and help your fellow man. One organization is spearheading a winter drive for homeless veterans but also does much more year-round.
“It’s a community Christmas tree that we planted back in 2014. It was planted, mainly, to provide moral support for all those serving in the U.S. armed forces who can’t make it home every year with their loved ones for the holidays,” said Karen Declet, with the Edwardsville Warrior Tree Project.
After planting that tree with a purpose, the Warrior Tree Project was born and soon began to take on a shape and a mission.
“We bring awareness to the 22 veteran suicides a day,” she added. “We also try to bring awareness to the homeless veterans.”
The project has been teaming up with other local organizations to make a difference.
“Doesn’t matter whatever organization you are as long as you’re supporting the veterans,” said AmVets Post 59 commander Lucius Washington. “We all need to stick together because there’s a lot of veterans who are afraid to come out and say ‘I need help.’ I’m cold, I’m hungry or or whatever.”
Through partnerships, clothes and food drives or just volunteering to keep a reminder of service well maintained at Veterans Park — Declet and company use their nonprofit to actively better the lives of veterans, their families and those who’ve been left behind they’ve fought to defend.
“We’re always looking for more veteran charities that we can donate to,” added Declet. “Basically, we just collect the money and we dole it right out. We don’t hold anything for ourselves. 100 percent of all of our fundraisers go back out into the community.”