On Saturday, January 13, Aid Our Veterans is holding a Bull Roast fundraiser at the American Legion Post 148 in Essex. Aid Our Veterans is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization working to help homeless and out of work veterans with programs and services such as housing and job training and placement.
According to Aid Our Veterans, after military service, too many veterans return to the civilian world only to find a lack of jobs in a changing world. Unfortunately, many veterans slip through the cracks and end up homeless or unemployed.
“One of the main things we say is the words ‘homeless’ and ‘veterans’ should never be used in the same sentence,” said Debra Smith, Director of Aid Our Veterans, located on Eastern Avenue near Eastpoint Mall. “This is our way of giving back to those who gave so much. They gave the ultimate sacrifice. This is a way to help vets who gave you your freedom.”
“This time of the year is really slow for donations and volunteers. The weather is killing us,” she added. “That’s why we need to do fundraisers like the Bull Roast.”
The Bull Roast will feature music, door prizes, 50/50s, silent auctions, wheels of chance, lay downs, games and more. The menu includes pit beef, ham and turkey, beef barbecue, chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, baked beans, string beans, baked mac and cheese, salads, a variety of desserts, draft beer, soda, coffee and hot tea. A cash bar will be available for mixed drinks.
Door prizes, baskets and raffles will include baskets of cheer; a flat screen television; a tailgating package; vacation packages; and lots of family fun night packages. Lupton’s Sports Collectibles will be running a silent auction with sports memorabilia. Special guest of the evening will be Santa Claus, who is currently vacationing but will make this last appearance before heading back to the North Pole.
“I do a lot of charitable work for many organizations, and Aid Our Veterans is one I proudly support. I’m happy to live in a country where I have the freedom that I have thanks to those who provide it,” said Brian K. Marchetti, a professional Santa for Hire who is donating his time at the Bull Roast. “I was lucky enough to have some special elves volunteer with me this past season, and they will be joining me at this event. We are really looking forward to helping out this great cause.”
Aid Our Veterans was founded in 2008 by Thomas Conlan, a US Navy veteran, in response to the many needs he had witnessed among fellow military veterans. Conlan was concerned by the ever-growing population of homeless and jobless veterans, many of them suffering from war-related injuries and mental health issues. Having enjoyed a successful career in the construction field after his service, Conlan felt he needed to give back, so he started Aid Our Veterans. When Conlan passed away in 2013, Smith was named the director.
Veterans can call the organization directly to ask for assistance, but many veterans are referred to them by other organizations such as the VA.
“If they are a vet and they served, we will help them. It doesn’t matter where they live,” said Smith. “Some organizations will only serve one branch of the military while Aid Our Veterans covers all branches.”
“Many of the veterans are homeless, and are looking to get into shelters. But some don’t want to get off the streets for whatever reason, so we try to find them a cheap motel, or they may want tents and sleeping bags,” she said.
Other veterans who are not homeless might be down on their luck because of medical bills. Some are working, but they can’t catch up with their bills after being out of work for a long period.
Smith says that 85% of Aid Our Veterans volunteers are veterans themselves. “A lot of those volunteers are vets who have been helped. They want to pay it forward,” she said. “Attending our Bull Roast is a great way for others to give back as well.”
Some of the services Aid Our Veterans offers include:
- Supporting veteran shelters
- Working with VA hospitals to place homeless veterans in shelters and find emergency bedding
- Finding job training and work placement assistance
- Providing food, clothing, and furnishings on a case-by-case basis
- Providing emergency assistance with critical items such as rent, heating bills and medical costs
- Helping place donated vehicles with veterans in need of transportation for work
- Putting veterans to work doing community outreach and fundraising
- Helping coordinate counseling when needed
- Coordinating visits to VA hospitals and rehabilitation centers
Aid Our Veterans Fundraiser Bull Roast
Saturday, January 13, 2018
6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
American Legion Post 148, 20 South Marlyn Ave., Essex, MD 21221
Tickets are $45.00 per person.
For tickets or more information, call (410) 391-8721 or go to http://aidourveterans.net.