‘Welcome Home’ offers warm hearts in cold weather
Anyone who’s undergone the daunting task of finding a new home knows that first step into an empty apartment or house can be more than a little intimidating. That step can be even more overwhelming if there are no boxes, no furniture, no basic necessities to fill the space — not even a radio to help break the silence.
This is reality for recently homeless veterans. While organizations such as the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans and the Veterans Administration can help provide veterans with housing, they’re often left on their own when it comes to making the house into a home.
Hopkins Elks members Rick and Gretchen Peterson, however, are offering everything needed to make an inviting, cozy place for newly-settled veterans through a program called Welcome Home.
The organization provides home starter kits, including all the necessities such as bedding, kitchenware, lamps, appliances and basic food items.
“When they finally find a house, they literally have nothing. Not even a chair to sit on,” Gretchen Peterson said. “It’s the simplest things that you and I take for granted.”
The project, started in June, has already served more than 63 veterans.
“It’s gone very quickly,” she said. “It took on a life of its own and it’s turning into a pretty big deal.”