Veterans are a service priority in many Goodwill programs, and veterans 55 years and older who meet certain income requirements are a priority in the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). That includes veterans such as 70-year-old James Mayfield, who joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1966 and served for three years. SCSEP helps older people refresh their work skills and reenter the job market.
James joined SCSEP in April 2014, but suffered a bad biking accident in October 2014 and spent the next several months in recuperation and in physical therapy. He returned to SCSEP in 2016 and today works part time at Consider the Lilies Thrift Store, which is affiliated with the Community Kitchen.
The Chattanooga Furniture Bank regularly provides veterans with furniture and other household basics necessary to ‘make a house a home’ at no cost to the recipient. This year, 44 veterans have already been assisted, compared with more than 42 veterans helped in 2016.
The Furniture Bank works through referrals to help people who were once homeless or who find themselves in emergency housing situations.
“The Chattanooga Furniture Bank is a key resource to our program and veterans,” reports Vanessa Campbell with the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, VA Homeless Program. “They have provided donated furniture to many of our veterans and in so doing have had a key role in the success of our veterans in housing.”
One veteran, in particular, received exceptional help earlier this year through The Furniture Bank, she noted. He had memory loss and had difficulty arranging for transportation of the furniture and items he needed from The Furniture Bank. Program Man
ager Lee Barton and Program Administrator Danny Ayala went above and beyond to assist the veteran.
“He (the veteran) had been in the Chattanooga Rescue Mission for a couple of years and had limited supports and no income. This was meaningful to him to be shown the respect and generosity reflected by the Chattanooga Furniture Bank staff,” Ms. Campbell wrote in a note of appreciation and acknowledgement.