Group spends July 4 honoring homeless vets

July 4, 2011 8:51:36 PM PDT
Life is not easy for servicemen and women when they return home after months, even years of war.

Fortunately, there are many organizations to help them. Now one group is using something as simple as a bottle of water to inspire our vets.

The government estimates more than 100,000 veterans are homeless. They live on the streets or in transitional housing, and while many of us take it for granted, they don't have easy access to the most basic necessity--water.

For this group of veterans, the Fourth of July festivities were inside with bingo, barbecue and plenty of water.

Capping off a week of deliveries to 15 homeless shelters, the non-profit I Am Waters Foundation worked this holiday. It stopped at U.S. Vets Inc, a transitional housing program for veterans, some homeless, to provide its bottled water with a side of inspiration.

"You look through it and it spells something right there," Army veteran Dave Denney said.

Denney's message -- dream. The bottles come with three others, single powerful words that founder Houstonian Elena Davis believes resonate.

"It makes them feel like somebody on the outside knows that they're there," Davis said.

The words came second. Davis' mission is to hydrate the homeless first. Born out of a connection based on her childhood, it's a stark contrast to her former glamorous life.

"I really hid this part of me, I ended up moving on and becoming a model and having a lot of success and I didn't talk about the fact that I was raised on $3,000 year in food stamps," she said.

Being open about it now has been both liberating and impactful. In this the second summer of distribution, the foundation will give out 300,000 bottles of water to organizations who help the homeless in three Texas cities including Houston.

"It's hot right now, and they don't have places where they can go get water, you know. There aren't public water fountains that distribute cold water," said Oscar Gonzales with U.S. Vets Inc.

On Monday, the focus was on veterans.

"Helping out the veteran and helping those who helped us have freedom," said Jesus Hernandez with the I Am Waters Foundation.

And Denney is grateful.

This past week, I am Waters delivered almost 70,000 bottles of water, but it is a very small organization that survives on private donations.

Load Comments