Care packages support Michigan veterans during pandemic
LANSING — The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency and partners will distribute care packages to Lansing area veterans and National Guard and Reserve members as a symbol of appreciation and support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The care packages, which include gift cards, snacks and hand-written notes of support from students across the country, will be distributed May 9 at a drive-through, contact-free event in Lansing. Supplies are limited and registration is required at Eventbrite.
The distribution event was inspired by the Governors’ Challenge to Prevent Suicide Among Service Members, Veterans and their Families (SMVF), chaired by Zaneta Adams, Director of the MVAA, the coordinating agency for Michigan’s 600,000 veterans and their families.
“These care packages do not necessarily carry a significant monetary value, but the value of interaction and an expression of thanks can be priceless, even if it is done while following social distancing guidelines,” Adams said. “This is an opportunity to share resources and provide a symbol of appreciation to those who were willing to give their all.”
A team of Veteran Navigators from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will be available to check in with veterans and provide additional assistance for themselves or their families. Veteran Navigators assist all veterans of all eras regardless of discharge type and often provide resources for issues such as mental health, homelessness and substance abuse.
The care packages event is one of several new MVAA initiatives designed to support Michigan’s veterans and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Others include Check on MIVet, which aims to connect veterans to benefits and services they have earned, and a series of Virtual Coffee Hour Q&As that provide the latest veteran-specific information on topics including health care, employment and education.
“As our state responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MVAA has stepped up to create new and innovate ways to connect with veterans to ensure their needs continue to be met,” said Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Adjutant General and Director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “The agency has adapted their outreach to continue their exceptional service, identifying and removing barriers veterans face in employment, education, health care and quality of life.”
Veterans and family members with questions about MVAA programs or benefits and services they may have earned can call a 24/7/365 hotline at 1-800-MICH-VET.
If you are a veteran having thoughts of suicide, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive free, confidential support and crisis intervention 24/7/365. Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net.
MVAA’s partners in the care packages event include Support Our Troops, Lansing Community College, Lansing Area Veterans Coalition-Region 7 VCAT, Walking with Warriors Veteran Navigator Program, Hidden Heroes-Dole Fellowship Program, Warriors and Caregivers United, and Daughters of the Revolution-Stoney Creek Chapter.
Learn more ways to cope at Michigan.gov/StayWell. Information around this outbreak is changing rapidly. The latest information is available at Michigan.gov/Coronavirus and CDC.gov/Coronavirus.