To help our country’s sick and wounded veterans, the Thanksgiving Drive, sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project, has sought to collect donations for the West Haven VA (Veterans’ Affairs) hospital in West Haven, Conn., and will be going on until Sunday, Dec. 10. All donations will directly benefit patients and hospital staff in need of supplies.

Many important and useful items are being collected by the drive, such as hand sanitizer, clean socks, Tylenol and other medications, as well as non-perishable and ready-made food that can be heated up.

Senior Stephen Dierks, the Founder and President of the Fairfield University Student Ambassadors Group supporting the Wounded Warrior Project, started the drive in order to help out with the organization. “The overall goal of this drive is to help wounded veterans by providing supplies to the West Haven VA hospital,” said Dierks.

He went on to say that, “There are many great causes that people can donate to and we want to ensure that those who served our country are not forgotten.”

Senior John Simon agreed with this sentiment.

“Veterans give so much for their country, so it’s a great thing for Fairfield to recognize that and give them something back and for people on campus to show them that they care in that way,” Simon commented.

In terms of how the donations will be beneficial to the VA hospital, Dierks felt as though it will ultimately help to make the lives of patients more comfortable. Such donations like shampoo, food and all of the other various items will provide the VA hospital with the resources to support other veteran organizations that the hospital works with as well.

When asked about the origins of this Thanksgiving Drive, Dierks noted that, “When the Wounded Warrior Project first started the drive last year, we were looking for nearby veterans organizations that we could help and decided that the West Haven VA hospital was where we could make the biggest impact.”

According to the mission statement on the Wounded Warrior Project’s website, they serve veterans and service members, “who incurred a physical or mental injury, illness, or wound, coincident to their military service on or after September 11, 2001.”

“As a University, for us to come together and be able to help out veterans is great,” said Anna Robles ‘21. “It shows that we’re a giving community and that we’re willing to help people in need.”

In terms of what the organization does as a collective, they provide free programs and services for wounded veterans and help them where the government does not do so. The goals of the organization, the website also stated, are to connect veterans to programs and communities to assist them, as well as serve them by providing them with mental and physical health treatment.

As a whole, in response to the helpfulness of the drive, Dierks added that, “the workers at the hospital, as well as the patients, were extremely grateful last year for the donations and we are excited to help them again this year.”

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