Ashtabula County's "Pay It Back" campaign that assists military veterans in need returns this year with a special plea for assistance, according to Shirley Corlett, coordinator.
"This campaign has, for the past three years, provided support and encouragement and hundreds of items to our wounded and homeless veterans," Corlett said in a statement. "Our county has done a tremendous job of collecting supplies for our veterans."
This year, assistance will again be given the Veterans Homeless Outreach Program of Cleveland, which is affiliated with the Louis Stokes Veterans Affairs Administration. However, aid will be provided to other veterans outside the reach of parameters of the VA hospital.
"The outreach program does everything it can to help our veterans get re-established in their communities," Corlett said in the statement. "One of its goals is to provide support and resources for those veterans who are able to get into homes or apartments. Many of them have been recently discharged from the hospital or they have finally been able to find a job that allows them to live on their own and pay rent."
As a result, Corlett is again seeking contributions of twin-sized air mattresses and electric pumps for these veterans. "Many times, the air mattresses such as those we provided are the only bed a veteran has," she said in the statement.
Also, Corlett is collecting household items that can be put into "move-in" kits, such as sponges, dish detergent/cloths/towels, pot holders, dish drainers, cooking utensils, cleaning supplies, silverware, laundry baskets and detergent and mop buckets. "It is a huge expense to set up a home when you have nothing," she said.
The campaign will run May 1-May 23. Items may be dropped off at the Ducro Funeral Home in Ashtabula, Conneaut Human Resources Center, Jefferson Community Center, Gazette Publishing in Jefferson and Northwest Ambulance in Geneva.
Last year, the campaign collected 40 boxes of personal care items, 20 air mattresses with pumps and cash used to buy 10 sets of sweat pants/sweatshirts.
For more information, contact Corlett at 224-1173.