VA clinic asks for warm coat donations, community responds

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The Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic in Bowling Green offers free clothing to the community's veterans. When they were running low on winter coats, the asked for the community's help.

If you've driven through the parking lot at the Fairview Plaza, you've seen the sign VA Clinic, but it's the space alongside it where your donations can help these veterans in need.

After running a story about the VA's needs on WBKO Tuesday, some community members said they had no idea the VA collected clothes there for veterans.

"Earlier this morning, it was coming in faster than we could put it in the back room," said volunteer Jennifer Whibeck. "The donations just keep coming in and coming in, and it's absolutely wonderful that the community is standing behind our veterans like this. These guys are heroes."

"I was watching WBKO and I saw it last night on the news," said Dan Dreweck. "Everything we have in the United States, we owe it to our veterans."

For veterans, it means free warm clothes at the store next door to the clinic, or non-perishable food items.

"I saw it on the TV yesterday, but this is the first time I've been in the store," explained Shellie Dalton, a US Army veteran.

Dalton has been battling homelessness, and he's thankful for a store like the one he discovered today.

"Sometimes people get kicked in the teeth by society, which is not society's fault," he said. "People get kicked in the teeth and don't know how to climb back out of the whole, and this is a great assistance."

Donations poured in from individuals, but also companies like Outback Steakhouse, whose donation included clothes, but also food.

Those who volunteer their time said they are paid better than money.

"You get paid in something much more valuable," explained Jennifer Whitbeck.

The store is open Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., but donations are taken Monday through Friday.

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