SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – In our region, there are many veterans who are struggling to reintegrate into civilian life; Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Services program works to assist veterans through career services, networking and informing and facilitating connections to needed social services. To help veterans with urgent financial needs, Goodwill has the Special Emergency Resources for Veterans (SERV) Fund. SERV was launched in March of 2015 by Goodwill’s Veterans Services program, in response to a growing need for emergency financial assistance for veterans and their families for housing, education and food.
Recently, The Patterson Foundation awarded an honorarium to Goodwill in recognition of its support of Season of Sharing; these funds will be used to replenish Goodwill’s SERV Fund. Last year, SERV was funded in large part through a $10,000 gift from The Harry Shapiro Charitable Foundation.
When a veteran is in need, the Goodwill Manasota Veterans Services team assigns each individual a case manager who works with the veteran and his or her family to create an individual plan, assessing need and identifying community resources to meet those needs. If the veteran and his or her family have emergency needs, the Goodwill team attempts to identify community resources through community partners and collaborative organizations that can assist. If no other avenues to help are available, SERV can be utilized to assist the veteran and the family with the problem. The case managers also help in other areas that enhance integration into the community or the civilian workforce, while addressing these emergency needs.
The Patterson Foundation made numerous recent contributions in celebration of its decade of support for Season of Sharing, which covers crucial expenses for basic needs such as rental assistance, utility bills, child care, transportation or food vouchers to help families and individuals get back on their feet. Goodwill Manasota was awarded the one-time honorarium – to use at its discretion – from The Patterson Foundation for its dedicated role in connecting Season of Sharing recipients with much-needed funds from community donors.
In 2020, although the pandemic hindered efforts to place as many veterans into employment as the veterans’ team had hoped, they were able to assist in many other ways, especially through the SERV Fund. The breakdown on SERV Fund distributions included payments for: phone bills, gas cards, internet for a veteran’s children who were attending virtual school, work clothes, school supplies, a Publix gift card for prescriptions, a new radiator for a broken-down car, payment of an electric bill, security guard training so veterans could embark on higher-paying careers, and more.
“We are very grateful for The Patterson Foundation’s ongoing support and all it is doing to build a stronger, more responsive community,” said Bob Rosinsky. “The needs throughout our local veterans’ community are so great and, sometimes, there is an urgent matter that requires funds to be available for distribution without a lot of bureaucracy standing in the way. With our SERV Fund replenished, we can continue to help veterans who reach out for our help – and quickly.”
For more about Goodwill’s Veterans Services program, go to experiencegoodwill.org/impact/veterans-services.
About Goodwill Manasota
Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit www.experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.