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Volunteer Services Make the Difference at VA

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Patrick Gleason

Patrick Gleason, Voluntary Service Chief at Jesse Brown Veterans Affairs Medical Center (JBVAMC) joined the America’s Heroes Group radio show on Saturday, December 12 to discuss food insecurity and the importance and role of the greater community in serving veterans.

The mission of Voluntary Services at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center is to improve the lives of those who have served the nation. Voluntary Services brings together and coordinates many of the resources that are available and needed in helping improve the lives of veterans.

While COVID-19 has made the work of serving veterans challenging, Voluntary Services continues to find ways to meet the needs.

Voluntary Services has identified the primary, basic needs of veterans that provide the dignity and security they deserve.

When veterans who are struggling have these basic needs met, they are then able to move forward in positive directions in other areas of their lives. Some of these basic needs include food, clothing, and some household necessities. When veterans who are struggling in some way can get these items, they have the confidence and ability to improve their other areas of their lives, as well.

Before the pandemic, Jesse Brown operated a food pantry. That had to be suspended due to COVID-19, but the team has been able to continue to provide food resources to veterans through the help of community partners and the team of social workers.

One of the keys to the success of Voluntary Services is the support of the leadership team at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, the team of social workers at Jesse Brown, and the Voluntary Services staff.

Also critical to the success of Voluntary Services is the community support. Without the support of the many Veteran Service Organizations, local businesses, large corporations, non-profit organizations, and faith-based groups, the Voluntary Services program could not function.

“Every veteran was willing to at one time in their lives to give everything for us. We should be willing do something for them,” said Gleason.

If you are interested in supporting these initiatives through monetary or item donations, or through volunteering, contact Patrick Gleason, Chief-Voluntary Service, by emailing Patrick [email protected] or calling 312 569-6334.

About the Jesse Brown VA: Jesse Brown VAMC, located near downtown Chicago, consists of a 220-bed acute care facility and operates four community-based outpatient clinics in Auburn Gresham, Lakeside, Chicago Heights, and Crown Point, IN. Jesse Brown VAMC provides care to enrolled veterans who reside in the City of Chicago, Cook County and six counties in northwestern Indiana.

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