More than 500 veterans were given a helping hand at a special community event on Friday.
The Heart of America Stand Down Foundation was able to help out the veterans thanks to an outpouring of support from the community after a report on KCTV5.
Federal budget cuts equal fewer military surplus items in the way of boots. That had the organization with just 10 pair of shoes a few weeks ago, not nearly enough footwear for homeless veterans.
The foundation provides clothing, shoes and other supplies to veterans that help them survive the bitter cold months.
"By the end of the day, we will have had about 500 or 600 veterans who have come through here and who will get a lot of help and ability to get through the winter," foundation director Art Fillmore said.
The organization has been doing this for 20-plus years, but this is the first year they have needed to ask for the public's help.
The veterans were grateful. Some have holes in their shoes, which they have lined with cardboard.
"It is nice to see the gratification in their voices and their faces when they leave here," Fillmore said. "They received a great hot meal, warm clothing, boots. They received a lot of smiles, which they really appreciate."
Young volunteers help sort through clothing and boots, and help the veterans find what they need.
Turner High School student Karen Aguilar said she got satisfaction by helping out the veterans for the second year.
"Maybe I won't serve in the military, but I am helping somebody who did something for this country," she explained. "So it's good to know that I helped them out."
Fillmore said this isn't a handout to those who have done so much for the United States.
"They received respect for the day and that means a lot to them," he said.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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