In partnership with Homage Senior Services, the Heroes’ Cafe hosted a resource Saturday aimed at helping local veterans access resources like health care, rental assistance and the COVID-19 vaccines.
Dozens attended the fair hosted at the Heroes’ Cafe’s new location at New Life Church in Lynnwood. The outside event invited veterans and senior community members to access organizations like the American Red Cross and health insurance providers like Humana.
“It was just to enlighten veterans that there’s other stuff out there for them, not just (Veterans Affairs) stuff,” said Director Gary Walderman.
The Heroes’ Cafe is a widespread network aimed at supporting veterans across South Snohomish County. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization hosted monthly gatherings that began with veterans meeting for coffee and has since expanded as a way to connect them with much-needed resources.
This is the first year the resource fair has been held by the organizations. There are plans to make the fair an annual event.
The primary need for many veterans is rental assistance. One way Walderman says he can help veterans is by covering other costs — like purchasing gas, phone cards or public transit cards — using donations made to the Heroes’ Cafe.
Recently, Walderman began working with the Lynnwood Food Bank, where he helps veterans get access to food. If a veteran has anxiety about being in public or meeting new people, Walderman said he will help them through the process until they are able to go on their own.
“We’re trying to help disabled vets become more independent,” he said. “These guys are starving out there because they can’t get (to the food bank).”
The Heroes’ Cafe has also been working to get local veterans vaccinated. The organization partnered with South County Fire which would administer shots at Lynnwood Fire Station 15 or travel to those who were homebound.
During the fair, the Snohomish Health District was onsite administering vaccines. At least 12 people received either their first shot of Pfizer or the one-shot vaccine from Johnson and Johnson.
To donate to the Heroes’ Cafe, contact Gary Walderman at email@example.com.
–Story and photos by Cody Sexton