At the end of March, at the height of the pandemic, Ken was ready to mail out eight rental deposits for Veterans in five states nationwide.

I apologize for not writing more often with updates, but we have been working to respond to COVID on all fronts — especially working to house veterans now, when they need us most, as well as figuring out how to run a non-profit during a pandemic.

In this vein, we want to give you an update on the status of our various events, locally and nationally, for the remainder of 2020.

Let’s start with good news: We have now housed over FOUR THOUSAND VETERANS in 25 states nationwide. But. . . before we celebrate, this is ONLY 4000 and ONLY 25 states.

Even though we will not be able to host live events this year, we are finding new and creative ways to execute these events, which will still allow you to financially support those we continue to serve.

Locally, this means our keystone, Tent City, will look a little different this year. 2020 is our 30-year anniversary of the advocacy we began back in 1990. Other than three years at the turn of the century, (wow! that sounds like a long time ago. . . wait, it is!) every year, the community unites to help those in need. 30 years — a long time for those who have been with us from the beginning.

It truly pains me to say this, but unfortunately, we cannot find a way to safely stage Tent City this year for the guests and volunteers. Right now is usually the time our oh-so-incredible volunteers are meeting every Thursday to plan how we can best serve those we serve, then hitting Lola’s after just because we love each other and the community we share.

It makes me sad that we are not meeting. Just as it makes the volunteers sad. . . Sad because we miss each other, and more importantly, sad that we will not be there to help those who need our help. Who need our love. Who need our community. . . especially at a time we are most needed by so many due to the loss of jobs in our community and our nation.

We will find a way to recognize the 30th anniversary next year, as well as all of those who have been there to help. And believe it or not, we are excited as hell about that.

The Veterans Matter Walk to End Veteran Homelessness, which usually kicks off Tent City, has been also been canceled. But, this gives us an opportunity to make lemonade with this lemon of a year by turning it into a national virtual walk. Nationally, companies that cannot do volunteer work on Veterans Day are instead putting together company teams to honor veterans by housing homeless veterans on Veterans Day. You can get information by going to VeteransMatter.org/walk.

Of course, like most things we do, there’s a twist. We will be having 10 individuals walking live, on Facebook live, who represent each of the facets of Veterans Matter, such as formerly homeless veterans, the VA, veterans’ groups, etc. Each 1/10th of a mile they will talk about what Veterans Matter is to each of those groups. So, every single company or group team, individual, and sponsor can walk virtually with us to make sure every homeless veteran gets a home for the brave in the land of the free.

This walk will take place on Veterans Day, prior to the national virtual 11/11 @ 7 events held in partnership with the National Exchange Clubs in about a dozen cities. We are working on details and will announce more as we get closer to the event.

Locally, for the disco, we worked with the Hens to find any conceivable option to try to make this somehow happen safely. We even created layouts to see if we spaced tables XX ft. apart in the entire Fifth Third Field, could it happen safely? But we could not. Even if partying attendees could honor proper social distancing, wear masks, and otherwise conducted themselves wisely, it is just not worth the risk, for anyone.

And of course, like everything else in a “damn-pendic”, all of this is subject to change. This is a crazy time indeed. And like everyone else, we are simply going to do the best we can. Nobody can ask more than that.

We hope you will be joining us to do the best we can for the veterans who need us right now. Why? Because we can.

Much Love,

Ken