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Homeless Veterans Stand Down in Des Moines aims to serve close to 500 Iowa veterans in need

The three-day event is highly anticipated because it is only held once a year and was canceled last year because of pandemic concerns.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Pleasant Hill resident Kevin Wolfe is an Army veteran. He spent eight years in the services starting in 1977.

These days he's a volunteer with an organization called Homeless Veterans Stand Down in Des Moines. He knows the impact of the organization's once-a-year event because it was a resource for him when times were tough.

"I know what it did for me and helped me when I needed it," Wolfe said.

The three-day event features opportunities for Iowa's veterans in need to pick up some clothes, meals, hygiene kits, and get a haircut.  There are also organizations offering social services and companies looking to hire veterans.

"You can wander around in the morning anywhere from West Des Moines to the south side, and you're gonna find homeless veterans," said Nick Lemmo, board member for the organization.

Sandy Deacon runs the surplus tent at the event which offers items directly from the U.S. Department of Defense.  It's a cause close to her heart.

"Our veterans gave everything, some of them, and many of them gave life and limb and part of their, their mind, to our country to fight for it. It breaks my heart when I see him on the street," Deacon said.

Organizers welcome non-veterans to the event as well, so they expect to serve more than a thousand people over the weekend. 

"We're looking for volunteers all the time, We're always looking for money donations of any time. You name it, we need it," said Lemmo.

If you're interested in helping, you can visit the organization's website for more information.