Fundraiser for homeless vets

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A brat day fundraiser will be held Saturday at Harris Ace Hardware, 1878 Elmwood Ave., from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. with proceeds benefiting homeless veterans, by providing housing for them at Rock Valley Community Programs (RVCP).

RVCP Director of Community Development Rick Valdez said RVCP offers a transitional housing program for veterans which includes case management. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also has a social worker who comes several days a week to work with the veterans one-on-one, and ensure they are getting all the services they’ve earned. Currently there are 36 veterans in the transitional housing program.

Although the VA provided the initial grant for the renovation of the transitional housing facilities, the per diem award only covers a small portion of operational expenses. There are many other associated costs such as driving veterans back and forth from Madison for appointments, helping them with employment and housing searches and transporting them to the store for clothes, food or medication.

Valdez said RVCP is charged with the responsibility of constant fundraising. It has to come up with roughly 25 percent of the operating budget, or around $100,000, every year, depending on the amount of veterans in the program.

Although the target is $100,000 Valdez said RVCP has already raised a little over $7,000 this year. Full Circle Furnishings, staffed by the veterans, continues to help fund the program as well.

Valdez said this is the first year RVCP started looking at fundraising goals and organizing its fundraising mission. It holds at least four brat fundraisers a year. It will also be holding flapjack fundraisers with Applebees in Beloit and Janesville, with the next one to be in Beloit on Nov. 9 from 7-10 a.m.

Area businesses and organizations also conduct fundraising activities and make donations to RVCP.

“Just this past weekend DMZ Motorcycle Club out of Janesville organized a poker run at the Marine Corps League to raise money,” Valdez said. “We do get a lot of community organizations that are doing small fundraisers.”

RVCP is working to form a committee to plan larger events on a more regular basis as well as to raise awareness of its services for veterans.

“We’ve always had bed space available and we know there are more veterans in need. It’s message the message out to the public,” he said.

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