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Cedar Rapids Area Veteran Resources

November 11th is Veteran’s Day.

If you are a veteran, first- thank you for your service. I personally hold a very special place in my heart for those who have served. My family is proud to have a long line of those who have served this country in different military branches in the past and still have some who are currently active duty. I am also blessed with friends who are also veterans.

Due to this, a cause that I strongly support and give to is veteran support. The men and women who have served this country have often sacrificed so much to do so- time with their loved ones, their bodies, and sometimes even their lives.

The Cedar Rapids area does have some really great organizations that support veteran causes.

Some non-profit organizations are fully funded on their own, but most receive some support through government funds (federal, state, or local). Even with that funding, most are still looking for additional help through monetary support, items, or volunteer.

Here is a list of local veteran support organizations and how they serve veterans:

 

Freedom Foundation 

4001 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 | (319) 826-2010

The Freedom Foundation was formed by a group of local military veterans who saw the need for a “Veterans Helping Veterans” approach to navigating the challenges of everyday life after serving our country. Our organization has now expanded to veterans and civilians working together to make a difference in the lives of those who have served.

The only requirement for service by Freedom Foundation is to be a veteran who has been honorably discharged by one of the branches of the United States military.

Services provided:

  • Food Pantry: this is available to eligible veterans to use 2 times per month.
  • Weekly hot meal: offered on Thursdays at 11:45 am at their location and veterans can attend with one spouse or friend if they are unable to drive.
  • Holiday meals: there is also a Thanksgiving meal and a Christmas meal that is held at their location. Date and times vary by year, contact them for more information.
  • Financial assistance: they can help veterans in need with items such as rental assistance, utility assistance, car repair, and other items. Amount and eligibility are decided on a case-by-case basis.  Limit is one per 12-month period.
  • Emergency housing situations: they can help with providing temporary stays in hotels to aid veterans whose housing has
  • Veteran’s Appreciation Day- usually held in June or July. A day to celebrate veterans by doing a big party that has food, gifts, and giveaways.
  • Assistance with rides to medical appointments and also with connecting veterans to other resources by acting as an advocate.
  • Their center offers numerous amenities for our Veterans, including a pool table, a shuffleboard, two big screen TVs, a computer, a poker table, and a large conference table where our Veterans enjoy coffee, snacks, and other refreshments reveling in the camaraderie of their fellow Veterans.

How can you help this organization?

Monetary donations are always welcome! You can use their donation link on their website, mail in checks, or even drop them off yourself.

You can offer food pantry donations as well. They currently provide services to about 400 veterans a month. They do get donations from different businesses in the community but are also happy to accept any canned or dry goods.

Volunteer by helping with meal preparation. You can contact them directly to see if there is a current need.

Operation Home (HACAP)

5400 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404 | (319) 393-7811 |  info@hacap.org

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) is funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs to improve the housing stability of homeless Veterans and their families in Linn, Jones, Benton, Cedar, Iowa, Johnson, Washington, Dubuque, Black Hawk, Buchanan, and Delaware counties. HACAP calls their program “Operation Home.”

Services provided:

In addition to stable housing, Veterans who enroll in the Operation Home Program are eligible to receive case management services, connections to Veteran and mainstream benefits, and temporary financial assistance.

How can you help this organization?

While they are funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs, they still accept additional monetary support to help aid veterans even further. You can go to their website at the link above and click on the donate button. You can specify that you would like your donations to go directly to veterans support services.

Willis Dady Homeless Services

1247 4th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403 | (319) 651-8545 | shannon@willisdady.org

Willis Dady has a shelter program specific for veterans through the US Department of Veteran Affairs. This program provides veterans an ongoing warm, safe location to sleep within our shelter.

Services provided:

In addition to providing the shelter, they will also provide support in housing, employment, and other needs.

How can you help this organization?

While they receive funding from the Department of Veteran Affairs, they still accept additional monetary support. You can go to their website at the link above and click on the donate button. You can add a comment and request that your funds go directly towards this program.

Volunteer Transportation Network/DAV

Phone: 319-651-5499

DAV (Disabled American Veterans) operates a fleet of vehicles around the country to provide free transportation to VA (Veteran Affairs) medical facilities for injured and ill veterans. DAV stepped in to help veterans get the care they need when the federal government terminated its program that helped many of them pay for transportation to and from medical facilities. Volunteers drive vans, and more than 155 Hospital Service Coordinators around the country help coordinate rides.

Services provided:

They offer free transportation to VA medical facilities for injured and ill veterans. Veterans need to call the numbers above to see if they are eligible for ride services.

How can you help this organization?

Volunteering to drive a vet ensures that even those living remotely from VA hospitals can make their appointments and never go without the treatment they need.

Fully government-funded resources (these are ones that provide services to veterans, but do not accept donations or volunteers)

Cedar Rapids Vet Center

4250 River Center Court NE, Suite D, Cedar Rapids | (319) 378-0016

Free counseling for combat Veterans of war eras. Offers family, marital, alcohol, substance abuse & PTSD counseling. Also serves survivors of military sexual trauma regardless of when it occurred. Provides bereavement service to family members of active-duty personnel who died while on active duty. Active duty service members may also seek counseling. Support Groups upon request.

Veteran Affairs Community Resource and Referral Center (CRRC)

3117 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402 | (319) 365-0898

CRRCs provide Veterans who are homeless and at risk of homelessness with one-stop access to community-based, multiagency services to promote permanent housing, health and mental health care, career development and access to VA and non-VA benefits.

IowaWORKS- Veteran Services

4444 1st Ave NE, Ste 436 (Basement of Lindale Mall), Cedar Rapids | (319) 365-9474

Assistance includes but is not limited to: job searches, resumes, and training resources. To qualify for services, you must meet eligibility criteria

Services provided:

  • Access to Home Base Iowa– a program that connects Iowa businesses with qualified veterans and their spouses looking for career opportunities. The program also provides resources to help connect veterans and their families with education and in transitioning to a new community
  • Case management by a Veteran Representative (who is a veteran themselves).
  • Priority of service for programming, training, and other services.

Linn County Veteran Affairs

1240 26th Avenue Court SW, Cedar Rapids, IA | 319-892-5160

Linn County Veteran Affairs, part of Linn County government, provides responsive, timely, accurate, and compassionate assistance to veterans, their dependents and survivors in applying for federal, state, and local benefits. In recognition of their service to our nation, they act as advocates who share an understanding of the veteran’s service and their needs.

Linn County Veteran Affairs has accredited County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO’s) who are professionals that receive the most current training on the scope, significance, and application of ever-changing federal, state, and local laws. Staff works with the Iowa Department of Veterans Affairs and other local organizations in order to help veterans and their eligible family members receive the maximum benefits they have rightfully earned.

This Veteran’s Day, consider helping a veteran you know connect with the services they need.


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