Brett D’Alessandro, a marine who currently serves, and Kevin Clarke founded Backpacks for Life, an organization that provides backpacks to homeless veterans filled with toiletries, blankets, hats, gloves and other essentials.
A homeless Vietnam veteran who he encountered near his Marine base in Rhode Island moved D’Alessandro to take action. With the help of the community of Verona and surrounding towns, D’Alessandro and Clarke have filled over 500 backpacks that have been distributed in Rhode Island and will also be given out at upcoming event for veterans in New Jersey later this month.
“’People tend to overlook homeless vets because they assume that there is a safety net and there’s really not. These vets get back stateside, there’s a week or two of work, and then they’re out.’”
Nationally, there has been a dramatic decrease in homelessness in veterans due in a large part to a commitment from the federal government. But local efforts such as Backpacks for Life are also making the difference!