Warm socks: A welcome gift for homeless veterans at HVAF

The Indiana Podiatry Group donated 1,100 pairs of socks and roughly 60 pair of Crocs shoes to HVAF on Monday, December 28, 2015. The effort originated as an idea from two medical assistants and quickly ended up gaining support and donations among seven Indiana Podiatry Group offices in Central Indiana. Educating the public on proper foot health is important because many people do not realize the significant impact inadequate socks and can have on one's foot health and overall health especially for homeless veterans who walk the streets in search of shelter and food.

FOX59, CBS4 and the Indy Star were on hand when the donation was made. View photos from the Indy Star here:



Comedy fundraiser benefits veterans in recovery

When Marti MacGibbon isn’t speaking to inspire and encourage behavioral health and medical professionals, or working on her second book or traveling between California and Indiana, you will find her raising awareness and funds for HVAF and other recovery housing programs in Indy. The addiction treatment professional first learned about HVAF from a colleague, an LCSW at the Veterans Administration. 

She is giving back to those who served our country.

In 2011 Marti and her husband, Chris Fitzhugh, created Laff-Aholics Standup Comedy Benefit for Recovery,  an annual event in Indianapolis that features nationally headlining comedians. All profits from the show go to local organizations, like HVAF, that provide transitional housing and access to treatment for recovering addicts and alcoholics.

HVAF was at the top of her mind for her charity of choice to support through a comedy fundraiser in 2015. Veterans have been near and dear to her heart.  Marti’s father was a WWII veteran and her cousin was a Vietnam veteran who passed away before he turned 40.
Laff-Aholics at HVAF
On October 10, 2015, Marti and her team at Laff-Aholics held a comedy fundraiser at the Indianapolis Museum of Art for HVAF’s Residential, Substance Abuse, Treatment (recovery) program, and another beneficiary, Foundation for Court Promoted Recovery. The show raised $11,450 in all, and HVAF's split totaled $5,775.00. Up to twenty-two veterans are enrolled in REST program at one time and receive intensive case management as they go through the 12-step recovery program.

Marti says that hope, healing and courage have helped her to overcome her own life challenges. In 1986 and 1987, Marti was homeless in California, sleeping under bridges and in abandoned houses. Today, she's an advocate for people who are currently homeless, and as a speaker, she works to dispel stigma surrounding homelessness, addiction, and mental illness. 

“I was a professional standup comic, with a Tonight Show appearance scheduled, when I went into a downward spiral. For nearly ten years, I struggled with addiction and severe PTSD, but when I got into recovery, I turned my life around. Recovery is the key! I returned to professional standup and traveled the U.S., performing in clubs, and at colleges and universities. Now I am a nationally known humorous motivational speaker, and a nationally award-winning author.” says Marti.

Now with a mix of hope and humor Marti is putting her experiences and passion toward helping others. Since its inception in 2011, Laff-Aholics has raised nearly $40,000 for beneficiaries.

Rain drenched homeless veteran relentless

She was an older woman and mother of two, soaked to the skin, standing on a street corner in a heavy rain near 42nd Street in Indianapolis. She was on a mission. She had placed a call from her cell phone, ashamed of her situation but relentless for help.

Davina had spent five years in the Army. She once ordered parts and supplies for military vehicles and with an honorable discharge moved to Maryland to find work. She worked odd jobs for two decades.

She began using drugs in 2006.

Like many veterans, when Davina tried to transition back into life outside the military, she found so much had changed. In 2009, Davina started living on the streets.

Davina at HVAF
“I was angry and frustrated. Why hire a homeless lady? I thought. I did not even have a permanent address. I worried what others might think. I wondered if managers feared if they helped me, pretty soon I’d start bringing my homeless friends to beg for jobs, harass customers, and hang around the store,” adds Davina.

“I had three-thousand dollars in my savings account and within 2 weeks I had completely emptied the account because of addiction,” she says.

In 2011, after her Mom passed away, Davina moved to Indianapolis. It is when she became homeless. She slept at family or friends.

Davina’s aunt told her about a job fair for veterans at the Indianapolis Fairgrounds. She attended and learned more about the services and programs offered to homeless veterans. She began to receive help from several organizations including Partners in Housing who then referred her to HVAF.

Davina spent her days looking for employment and going to the library where she scoured the classifieds of every free newspaper she could find. Reading was a pleasant distraction that she says kept her mind off food and cold.

“HVAF saved my life,” says Davina.

Jobless and penniless, Davina, 47, decided to go HVAF where she met HVAF Case Manager, Jason Murray.

At HVAF, Davina learned that she qualified for the SSVF program and HVAF helped her furnish her apartment as well as provided bus passes which allowed her to use money from her full-time job at a local call center to pay bills. HVAF also helped provide Davina with food, hygiene and clothing items. 

Shelter from the storm

“I had always been a fighter, but I was scared. I was scared of rejection. I don’t like to depend on people. I am very independent and that was one of my biggest challenges to open up and allow people to help me.”

Now she is in from the rain and has a roof over her head.

“I love my apartment because it fits me. It’s no thrills but I pay my own rent. I feel like I am getting back to the way I was before drugs. Everything in the apartment belongs to me.”

Davina has been clean and sober since November 2014. She is motivated to stay clean and sober so that she can be present for her future grandchildren. She also recently purchased a car which she says has been a blessing.

Volunteer spotlight

BidPal employees volunteer at HVAF
On a bright Thursday morning in November, volunteers from BidPal rolled up their sleeves to paint the Manchester apartments, one of HVAF’s 13 transitional housing properties.

The fifty-one-unit apartment provides housing for veterans who are in need of help. The apartments are provided by HVAF, which offers case management and support.

"We identified a population that our staff could help create a positive impact on" said Joshua Meyer, Director of Marketing at BidPal. "These men and women end up homeless sooner than we think, it was important to our team to do something to help.”

Each year, BidPal, an Indianapolis based fundraising software company, chooses a charity to contribute to through their PhilantroPal Day. Nineteen volunteers took time out of their work schedule to volunteer at HVAF.

"We think this kind of work is really important," he said. "We see more and more homeless people on the street, and this is a really good cause and all of us at BidPal are glad to be part of the change in improving the lives of homeless veterans," says Joshua.

IHCDA and local organizations provide more than $50,000 to HVAF

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) presented HVAF with a check for $54,000 to benefit Hoosier veterans and their families who are experiencing or at risk of becoming homeless.

Funds raised through the IHCDA golf outing support all of these services and programs plus help provide food, clothing and hygiene items as well as transportation for homeless veterans and families in our community.

So far this year, HVAF has served more than 800 homeless veterans and families through its transitional housing program.

“HVAF’s dedication to providing support and prevention for Hoosier veterans made them an ideal recipient for our golf outing proceeds this year,” said Jacob Sipe, Executive Director at IHCDA. “Without the generous support of our golf outing partners, this donation would not have been possible.”

Partner organizations for the event included:

  •          Great Lakes Capital Fund
  •          Herman & Kittle Properties, Inc.
  •          First Southwest
  •          City Real Estate Advisors
  •          J.P. Morgan
  •          Katz, Sapper & Miller
  •          Umbrella Corporation
  •          PNC Bank
  •          BNY Mellon
  •          Dauby, O’Connor & Zaleski, LLC
  •          First American
  •         Pedcor Investments


Communities donate over $2,700 to help homeless veterans at HVAF

Zionsville Library Hope for Heroes
The Eta Pi Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA) collected over $2,700 in donated goods and cash to benefit homeless veterans at HVAF. The effort was part of the group's 7th annual Winter Warm-Up for Homeless Veterans and involved its various community partners.

The drive, which ran from November 11 through December 17, collected items at Akard True-Value Hardware and Hussey Mayfield Library which are both located in Zionsville.

The community collected clothing and toiletries for homeless and at-risk men and women who have served in our nation’s armed forces. 

In addition to the collection in Zionsville, the Omega Chi chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha hosted a collection at the Chick-fil-A in Plainfield. 

Additionally, members of the Zionsville Lions Club, which has been an annual partner in the project, supported the project with donations of goods and cash totaling over $840. 

Boy Scouts Hope for Heroes
Boy Scouts of America Den 14 Pack 358 of Pleasant View Elementary, Zionsville, also collected items. The boys, who are second graders learned about the project at the Hussey-Mayfield Library which has a bin for collections as part of their Hero Tree Project which honors veterans. 

Aden Guerrero, one of the boys in the scout group, sold toys he was no longer playing with to earn money to purchase items for homeless veterans.

“I'm so proud of these boys and what they were able to accomplish," said Stephanie Leman, leader of the group. "My heart is full.”

Akard Hardware Hope for Heroes
At Akard True-Value hardware, Barbara Wood, a real estate agent and resident of Zionsville, left 9 carefully prepared bags in honor of Roger Seals, a Veteran and beloved client who passed away earlier this year. The bags each contained flannel pants, gloves, socks, and a hat as well as toiletries. Barbara, who had been seeking a way to give to a good cause this Christmas as well as an opportunity to honor Mr. Seals, found the Hope for Heroes collection to be a great way to do both. 

In addition to the efforts of Eta Pi chapter, the Omega Chi Chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha, hosted a collection as their first Hope for Heroes project as a newly formed chapter. The Chapter collected around 100 items, valued at just under $400 at the Plainfield Chick-fil-A.

Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA) International is a leadership and service organization where members develop friendship, find their passion for community service, and continue on the path of lifelong learning. Through ESA, men and women of all ages, backgrounds and interests are united by the desire to make a difference in the lives of others.

Activities for ESA’s Hope for Heroes program take place around the country year-round. Individual members and chapters often partner with other veterans’ organizations, military support groups, and military hospitals to provide a variety of materials for families, returning soldiers, and wounded warriors. All of ESA's efforts are intended to assist in meeting the needs of the individual recipients, but also to lift their spirits and feel the gratitude that ESA members feel for their service.


Your donation matters

There are veterans in need who bravely served our country. And today, they need our help.

As the largest local nonprofit service provider for veterans and their families in Indiana, we provide daily housing to more than 200 homeless veterans in our mix of 13 properties in Central Indiana.

So far this year, HVAF touched the lives of over thousands of veterans by providing more than 30,000 services to veterans. 
  • 882 veterans were served through our transitional housing, permanent housing placement as well as our REST recovery program
None of this would be possible without the support of donors like you! And right now, your contribution can mean more than ever before.

Our work is far from done. As long as there are veterans who do not have a roof over their head or know where their next meal will come from, we must strive to do more. 

Your contribution will go toward our goal of raising funds for critical services.

Your gift today of $20 will help HVAF provide one veteran with essential hygiene items for one month.

$50 can provide transportation to medical appointments and food for veterans.

And if you can send as much as $200, HVAF you can supply one veteran with clothes for one year.

Click here to make your contribution now! Your donation ensures that when veteran families call HVAF for help, they get the assistance they need and have earned through their service and sacrifice.

Please be as generous as you can TODAY!