The Salvation Army partners with Reaching Rural Veterans for a monthly resource fair

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Organizers of a new program at the Jacksonville Salvation Army hope to connect veterans with the resources they need.

The pantry at 331 W. Douglas Ave. has partnered with Reaching Rural Veterans for a resource fair that meets the second Friday of each month. Reaching Rural Veterans is an Illinois-based veteran outreach program from Purdue University that launched in March 2021.

Salvation Army Captain Chris Clarke said the new program aims to connect veterans and their families with anything they might need, such as food, employment or contact with life. other regional veterans organizations, which can provide things like medical assistance. Additionally, he said the reunions also provide “a gathering for veterans and families of veterans to come together.”

“People can not only get resources, but also camaraderie and things like that,” Clarke said. “Anything that is for veterans or that would help veterans and their families, those are the things we’re looking for.”

Pantry partners in the community may also have tables at events to provide assistance or knowledge about other programs, Clarke said.

Reaching Rural Veterans first contacted the Salvation Army to organize the program in August, Clarke said, and the pantry held its first resource fair last Veterans Day. Due to the holidays, he said many Jacksonville-area veterans’ organizations were unable to attend the event, although a representative from the Purdue program was in attendance.

The fair is a way for The Salvation Army to “follow up with people and make sure that if they have needs, those needs are met,” Clarke said.

The pantry continues to reach out to community organizations and businesses to come to the fair. Clarke said the Salvation Army has been in contact with MCS Community Services, hoping to provide him with utility assistance.

The next Resource Fair will be held in the Pantry Scholarship Room from 9-11 a.m. on December 9.

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