SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Homeless and at-risk veterans across the Ozarks should be heading into Thanksgiving equipped with more resources. Multiple community organizations hosted a Veteran Stand Down event Wednesday to offer help.

The one-day event, held at the VFW Post 3404, offered veterans hygiene supplies, food and cold weather clothing items and, at a minimum, a Thanksgiving meal.

“We have food pantries, we have insurance companies, we have housing assistance,” said Jessica McCowan, with the Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri. “They can sign up for food stamps today on the spot. Everybody will be leaving with a Thanksgiving meal and a drink. They will also have canned goods and clothing available to them.”

Veteran Cory Griffin said he once was homeless. Through the help of community organizations, he was able to get back on his feet. The Veteran Stand Down event, he said, gives other veterans the same opportunity.

“I want every veteran that walks through that door to have that same chance at redemption that I had,” said Griffin. “I never felt like I deserved it.”

Organizers said they put together the event in short notice, knowing something like this had not been offered since 2019.

The event looked to help more than just the veterans located in Springfield.

“We actually have buses scheduled from Bolivar, Buffalo, Lebanon, Marshfield, Branson and Nixa,” said McCowan. “They’ll be coming in today so that we can reach those. A lot of the services that are here are available to them, they may just not be aware of them.”