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White Plains Rotary Raises $10K for Local Veterans

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- After Base Camp Westchester , a White Plains-based nonprofit that pays security deposits for homeless veterans, lost state funding, according to Executive Director Dan Griffin. Since November, the Rotary Club of White Plains has raised $10,000 for the organization.

“We used to get a grant every year from the state, but that assemblyman is no longer in office. So, it’s been difficult,” said Griffin. “They decided to donate to us, which we greatly appreciate.”

The local chapter 49 of the Vietnam Veterans of America formed Base Camp Westchester about 20 years ago. Since then, Griffin said his organization has paid security deposits and bought kitchenware kits for hundreds of veterans.

Once homeless veterans have completed various programs, saved enough money and acquired a job, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will help them find and furnish an apartment. The VA then alerts organizations like Base Camp Westchester.

“The only thing that’s missing is that security deposit. That’s difficult for anyone starting out in life to pay,” Griffin said. “We pay it directly to the landlord and we order the kitchen kit and have it delivered to the veteran after they move in.

Griffin said he anticipates that needs will continue to grow as military personnel return from Iraq.

“The needs have increased. As a matter of fact, when I spoke last July, I told them about a family that we assisted. The VA called me and said that they had a family, both husband and wife were in the army. The husband had been deployed twice in Iraq. The wife was in the army, but not deployed overseas, and two small children,” Griffin said. “The four of them were living in a car. The VA got them a four-bedroom house trailer and furnished it and everything.”

Base Camp Westchester sent the family a six-person kitchen set, in case the children broke a few dishes, a microwave, a coffee maker, blankets, sheets, pillows and comforters for their queen and twin beds, towels, a shower curtain and a "welcome kit" with dish soap, toilet paper, paper towels and other cleaning supplies.

"They were very appreciative," Griffin said. "Our organization is doing something that’s really necessary and needs to be done. And no one else is doing it."

Base Camp Westchester puts 100 percent of donations towards assisting local veterans.

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