PORT TOWNSEND — This year’s Jefferson County Veterans Stand Down will be back to offering everything from hot meals and clothing to haircuts and health screenings to homeless veterans, veterans in need and their immediate dependent family members.
This coming Monday, “the full complement of services with 24 providers, clothing, two hot meals” and other offerings will be available at the Stand Down from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Port Townsend Elks Lodge, 555 Otto St., said Rita Frangione of Vet Connect in Port Townsend..
“We expect to have about 40 to 50 volunteers and service providers,” she said in an email. “We hope to see at least 75 or more veterans throughout the day.”
A new service at this annual event sponsored by Voice for Veterans will be a mobile shower trailer.
The trailer has three shower and toilet units. It is on loan from Olympic Community Action Programs (OlyCAP), which operates it at the Caswell-Brown Village.
Also offered will be a hot breakfast and lunch; employment services; benefits counseling; assistance for Veterans Affairs and Jefferson Healthcare hospital; haircuts; health, dental and mental health screenings; free clothing and bedding; hygiene kits and outdoor equipment.
Due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, no stand downs were conducted in 2020 and last summer, a small event offered only 14 providers, no clothing and was held entirely outside, Frangione said.
Precautions against the ongoing pandemic will be observed through having the event both indoors and outdoors and creating more space to reduce crowding and promote proper social distancing, Frangione said.
“Face coverings are not mandatory but will be encouraged. We are asking volunteers and providers to model that behavior,” she said in an email.
”We will have hand sanitizer available at every table including dining tables. Dining will be encouraged outside on the PT Elks Lodge’s lovely deck.”
Free transportation will be available through Jefferson Transit.
This Stand Down will be the second this year on the North Olympic Peninsula.
The first, held May 5 in Forks, was the first after COVID restrictions were lifted, said organizer Jennifer Pelikan on Monday,
“I purposely kept it small and very focused,” she said. “I was very happy with the attendance and the service providers.”
The next Stand Down for veterans on the Peninsula will be on Oct. 6 in Port Angeles.