Boscov’s donates gifts to area veterans

Veterans and volunteers pose for a photo holding Heat Holders thermal socks, which Boscov’s gifted, along with other items, to veterans in the area. (Delaware State News/Brooke Schultz)

MIDDLETOWN — For local veterans, the holidays arrived a bit early this month.

The Christmas trees set up at Warriors Helping Warriors and Victory Village now have Boscov’s bags tucked under them, ready for the season.

“We just wanted to keep the veterans very warm this year,” said Osceola Page-Purdue, a spokeswoman for Boscov’s.

With the support of Boscov’s customers and employees in Dover, Wilmington and Christiana, 200 bags were created for distribution to veterans throughout the state.

The bags contained robes, pajamas, slippers, razors, Heat Holders’ thermal socks and other items.

Ms. Page-Perdue said that about two years ago, she volunteered with her sister, who works with veterans in Wilmington. Through that, Ms. Page-Perdue and her family attended Stand Down, an event that is hosted in Dover annually and provides community and VA services for all veterans, such as dental, flu-shots, hair cuts, legal services, hot lunch, warm clothing and more.

Osceola Page-Perdue talks to veterans at Warriors Helping Warriors in Middletown.

“It was so overwhelming and heartfelt that there were so many veterans that were in need,” Ms. Page-Perdue said.

Through her participation in Stand Down, Ms. Page-Perdue connected with Elizabeth Byers-Jiron, director for Stand Down, Veterans Awareness Center Foundation in Sussex County and Victory Village.

With the goal of giving out the Heat Holders’ thermal socks, Ms. Page-Perdue and Ms. Byers-Jiron set up a day of giving.

The group — thanks to a ride from Newark Toyota World — dropped off the bags to Warriors Helping Warriors and Victory Village Tuesday morning. The bags were also gifted to Supportive Service For Veterans in Dover that afternoon.

Victory Village and Warriors Helping Warriors are transitional homes that help connect veterans to services in the community. Victory Village, for instance, has helped about 59 to 70 veterans transition into permanent affordable housing, said Al Grimminger, a volunteer who works with the facilities.

Deborah Matthews, a case manager at Warriors Helping Warriors, poses with presents from the bags gifted by Boscov’s.

“This is definitely a hand up, not a handout,” said Mindy Bacchus, executive director for the Veterans Awareness Center. “We want to make sure that our veterans feel that they’re important to us.”

“We enjoy what we’re doing,” Rick Hagar, co-founder and president of National Veterans Assistance Coalition, noted. “We’re helping good people who need help.”

Deborah Matthews, a case manager for Warriors Helping Warriors, said that the gift was overwhelming.

“The outpouring of love and appreciation, showing them that you appreciate their service what they did for this country and that they aren’t forgotten, that means a lot to these men,” she said. “The community here has been absolutely phenomenal. Every day, somebody is coming with acts of kindness to be a blessing to these men.”

Veterans, volunteers and representatives from Boscov’s, Newark Toyota World and Veterans Awareness Center Foundation pose for a photo after Boscov’s gifted presents to Victory Village in Middletown.

Tampa Scott, the house manager for Warriors Helping Warriors, agreed. Mr. Scott came to the house as a resident; he served 11 years in the Army.

“I know this is a blessing. This place has been; it’s helping veterans. I’ve seen quite a few come, get hired, get their benefits, change their life around completely,” he said. “It’s really nice to have people coming in to help out. It really is.”