The Florida Veterans Foundation is kicking off its holiday fundraising campaign to help Florida veterans in need.
FVF is the direct support organization for the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Its fundraising campaign, “You’re Not Alone This Holiday Season. We Care,” will highlight the challenges veterans experience during the holiday season and help raise awareness for the organization’s mission.
“Many veterans struggle during the holiday season with depression, loneliness, and PTSD,” FVF Chairman Dennis Baker said. “For some vets, big crowds and loud noises trigger unwelcome memories, while others may have little or no family to provide support and togetherness. As an all-volunteer organization run by veterans, we truly understand the myriad challenges veterans experience.”
Florida is home to the third-largest population of veterans in the country — more than 1.5 million vets — making up almost 7% of the state’s population. The Legislature established the FVF during the 2008 Legislative Session to address veterans’ needs that go beyond the services provided by the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Since then, FVF has served tens of thousands of Florida veterans. Last fiscal year, FVF provided services to 70,000 veterans across the state by helping to feed and clothe homeless veterans, providing emergency dental services, distributing $373,000 in direct assistance, and helping aging veterans and their spouses recover over $17 million in earned benefits.
“Everything we can do to help veterans suffering from despair, loneliness or homelessness is our mission,” said Lewis B. Wilson III, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who serves as FVF President and CEO. “Florida has made strides over the last few years in reducing the number of veteran suicides, but still about 600 veterans commit suicide in the state each year, and that’s unacceptable. Our motto is No Florida Veteran Left Behind. And we mean it.”
A recent survey conducted by FVF showed 45% of Floridians have donated to veterans’ causes in the past and are inclined to continue to support such organizations.
“Most people are one degree of separation from knowing a veteran and are grateful for their sacrifice and service,” Lewis said. “People have many outstanding choices when it comes to donating to a good cause, and our hope with this campaign is to be one of their choices.”
The Florida Veterans Foundation accepts donations online and by mail.