HVAF of Indiana, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit, is in desperate need of food donations. Its food pantry is nearly empty, and the need among area veterans has been growing.
"I did the roller coaster: my drinking and losing jobs to the point where I started losing everything," said Tonny Bader, a formerly homeless veteran who is participating in one of the nonprofit's programs that offers food and shelter.
"We keep getting told the number of homeless veterans is going down, but our numbers keep going up. Six months ago, we opened a brand new facility next door," said Dr. Charles Haenlein, HVAF of Indiana President & CEO, who then said, the transitional housing complex quickly filled up.
There is also a long waiting list for housing so helping out more with food is the next best thing. The nonprofit is putting its requests out on social media. Dr. Haenlein called it an SOS.
"Whatever we did have, well, this is all that's left," he said.
Donations have declined and a $1,000 investment in food each week is just not enough any more, and the vets are getting a little less.
"Not only do we have 200 people currently in our beds, but we have another 150 who come in each week for services, and we have over 100 people on our waiting list just to get those services," said Haenlein.
The waiting list is also not shrinking.
Veteran Fred Peters invited us inside his apartment. He said his favorite thing is his cupboard full of donated food, and of course, his new set of keys.
"This is more than just hope," said Peters as he looked at his keys and keychains. "My professor gave me this one and my family gave me this."
"I used to sit there and protect the border or do something with high tech equipment, and look at me now. You feel for them, and I was one of them too. I didn't choose to become homeless," said Bader.
If you would like to make a monetary or food donation, you can drop it off at:
HVAF of Indiana
964 N. Pennsylvania St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204