The above video features a veteran in Phoenix who is a graduate of Open Table.
Our Veterans Have Protected our Freedom. It is Time for Us to Protect Them from Poverty.
1.5 Million Veterans Live in Poverty in the US.
Three years ago, a partnership of community leaders, the faith community and government brought the evidence based Open Table poverty transformation model to Saginaw County to serve young adults transitioning from foster care and juvenile justice into the community. Thirteen congregations in Saginaw County have been licensed to utilize the model. Nine young adults have been served to date by these congregations with three more tables pending. Relationships between faith and government have been established and strengthened in Saginaw through this movement.
Community members are now expanding the use of the Open Table to serve men and women who have protected our freedom and live in poverty.
What is the Project?
Open Table in Saginaw will invite veterans who are experiencing poverty into a community of supports, which is called a Table. The Open Table research base demonstrates that the substantial effectiveness of the model is developed through the relationships between Table members and the Sister and/or Brother combined with Table members sharing their experiences, contacts, skills and know-how. This support received from each Table will help Saginaw County veterans living in poverty implement their own plan of what a good life should be.
The goal of the project is to serve five or more veterans through Tables in 2018. Identified veterans in needs will be paired with Table groups of 6 – 12 volunteers who meet over the course of the year (6-8 volunteers for an individual and 10-12 for a veteran with a family). Your donation will help provide funding for the costs of implementation, development of training materials and trainings specialized for veterans and the collection of data and stories. The first year project will create the experience and tools to train more people in Saginaw to serve veterans through the Open Table model.
Who Will be the First Impoverished Veteran to be Served?
Thomas served our country. However, life has not been kind to him since his discharge from the military. He is homeless, unemployed and has difficulty acquiring basic necessities we all take for granted. He is waiting to be the first veteran served by a Table in Saginaw County in 2018.
Are there Statistics About Poverty and Veterans?
According to the United State Census Bureau there were 13,598 total veterans living in Saginaw County in 2015. Of those, 13.9% were unemployed. Furthermore 9.6% of veterans in Saginaw County fell below the poverty level. These reports demonstrate the need to intervene and provide social support to veterans in the Saginaw community. When veterans return home they often find it difficult to transfer their many years of service experience into a job in the civilian world. Establishing social connections and networks will help veterans find employment and adjust to civilian life.
Veterans have high rates of poverty and substance abuse due to not being integrated into a community of friends and natural supports. Veterans in Saginaw have resources available such as the vet center and the Veterans Affairs office. However, these services are run by the State and federal government respectively. Oftentimes, these organizations are unable to provide the time intensive individualistic care that each veteran needs.
When I Contribute will I receive Updates?
Yes, the project will provide regular updates and opportunities for you to support the project in a number of ways.