Niagara Gazette — NORTH TONAWANDA — Veteran homelessness is a growing problem across Western New York, with an estimated 1,700 in the Buffalo area.
With those statistics in mind, several local veterans’ advocate groups have formed a coalition to focus the public’s attention on this issue.
On Saturday, all are invited to “Come Fly a Kite for Homeless Veterans,” a free family event from noon to 4 p.m. at Gratwick Park on River Road, North Tonawanda.
Vets H.E.R.D (Helping Returning and Disabled Veterans), Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 77, VA Home Front Project and the WNY Veterans’ Housing Coalition have joined together to sponsor the event.
“This family oriented event will host individuals and families from across Western New York,” said Joe Pasek, a member of the coordinating committee.
Young and old are invited to join the fun of flying a kite.
“We’re giving away 800 kites to anyone who doesn’t have one,” said Jack Michel, event coordinator.
To reserve a kite, register at www.kitesforvets.com or call 435-7210.
Those attending are urged to bring their own kites, if possible.
Food and drinks will be available for purchase and cash donations will be accepted.
Sponsors for the event are also needed.
“We have several levels of sponsorships available,” Pasek said. “Sponsorships help our agencies bring public attention to homelessness among veterans as well as allowing us to continue to prvide help to veterans and their families,” he added.
“Homelessness is deplorable in a country as rich as ours,” Pasek said. “Homelessness among veterans is unforgivable. This is not the way to thank those who gave their all for us,” he added.
For more information or to become an event sponsor, go online at www.kitesforvets.com or call Celia O’Brien with the WNY Veterans Housing Coalition at 515-5844 or Michel with the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 77 at 435-7210.