Junkluggers Veteran Initiative
Veteran’s Day is known as a day of reflection and gratitude for those who have selflessly served and made tremendous sacrifices for our country. Yet, many veterans do not leave with the best circumstances in life. While some adapt to daily life with great success, others struggle to overcome insurmountable obstacles. From service related disabilities and trauma to joblessness, veterans have faced and overcome many challenges.
Since 2013, The Junkluggers have done their part to show their gratitude through the Junkluggers Veteran Initiative. By partnering with charities such as The Jericho Project, The Institute for Community Living, The Military Resilience Project and Hope for Warriors, The Junkluggers of Manhattan and Brooklyn have worked to furnish new homes for formerly homeless veterans. The focus of each of these charities has been to provide a place of comfort for veterans. By providing emotional support and creating a space for opportunity, veterans are able to work and overcome their struggles in a safe environment.
Oftentimes a housing placement is an empty room or an unfurnished apartment. When we found out that these veterans were finally being provided roofs over their heads only to sleep on the floor, we knew we could help. Working closely with ICL, The Junkluggers has donated furniture to newly housed veterans through an application process. The ICL works to provide social services and to assist individuals and families struggling with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses by providing individualized and comprehensive care. Staffed by social workers, psychiatrists and family advocates, the ICL works closely with veterans to reintroduce them to every day life, provide transitional housing and medical, dental and mental health care.
Over the last few years, over hundreds of items have been donated to newly housed veterans. From tables and chairs, to rugs, couches and beds, The Junkluggers Veteran Initiative has been able to furnish entire homes and donate directly to a veteran in need. Each donation has had a profound and lasting impact not only for the veterans but for the Luggers as well. The Junkluggers of Manhattan and Brooklyn owner Zach Cohen recalls one particularly impactful donation, “Christmas Eve of 2013, I was able to personally witness how we transformed a man’s life. He went from sleeping on the floor on a rug, his only furniture, to being left with a completely furnished apartment.” Donating directly has allowed for The Junkluggers to not only do a tremendous service to those in need, but has also created an opportunity to hear the veteran’s story.
Since starting the Veteran’s Initiative in 2013, we have been able to fully furnish about two apartments for veterans each month and are hoping to increase those numbers in the coming years as we find more charities to partner with in the future.