Task Force Omega – Indiana 1 is a nonprofit organization committed to helping all veterans and active duty personnel. The small but mighty current group of 14 was founded in 2011. One of its newest missions is to help the growing number of “Homeless Heroes” in the Greater Indianapolis area.
Arlen Buck, president of TFO, said the interest in helping homeless veterans began after he volunteered with another group at a Stand Down*in Indianapolis in 2013. Stand Downs are one- to three-day events held at various locations across the country to provide homeless veterans with food, clothing, health screenings, employment, housing solutions and counseling on Social Security benefits.
“Stand Downs seemed like a good fit for us since the majority of our members are vets,” Buck said. “The idea of helping Homeless Heroes brought a smile to everyone's face.”
During the Indianapolis event, he learned about other Stand Downs held in Muncie and Kokomo. TFO members found out how about many veterans attended past events so they could collect adequate supplies for future Stand Downs in those cities.
In 2016, TFO attended Stand Downs in Indianapolis, Muncie and Kokomo.
“All total since 2013, we have been able to help approximately 1,000 Homeless Heroes through our attendance at these various Stand Downs,” Buck said.
The state of Indiana hosts many Stand Downs each year, he said. He hopes that some day the TFO will be able to attend them all.
“Or better yet, the number of Homeless Heroes will drop and we will be out of a job,” Buck added.
TFO plans to continue their mission at several Stand Downs this fall. Last year, TotallyPromotional.com donated drawstring bags for TFO members to give homeless vets. The group stuffed each bag with two pairs of new gloves, a new stocking cap, a hygiene kit, a plastic ground cloth, canned foods, candy and snacks.
The food eventually was eaten but the bags remained a useful item for the vets on the street, Buck noted.
“Your backpacks became a place to store and carry other items of value to these Homeless Heroes,” he said.
The staff at TotallyPromotional.com are proud of the work TFO members are doing to help veterans who need our support. Thank you for your efforts TFO!
* Stand Downs were first organized by a group of Vietnam Veterans in San Diego in 1988. They are designed to transform the despair and immobility of homelessness into recovery to resolve legal issues, employment, health services and benefits for veterans. The goal is to reconnect veterans with the community and get them off the streets.
More information about Stand Downs and other veteran programs is available at the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.