Operation Housewarming for Homeless Veterans
With outreach at the forefront of our mission as a philanthropic organization, and through the support, guidance, and inspiration of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, Operation Housewarming was established in 2012 by the Metropolis of Boston Philoptochos in partnership with VA New England Healthcare System. The mission of the program is to assist homeless veterans of the VA New England Healthcare System in their transition to independent living.
Through Operation Housewarming, household items are donated by Philoptochos Chapters, Parishes, and individuals to create a welcome basket for each veteran including plate ware, cleaning supplies, towels, and more. The items are then brought to the local Veterans Affairs programs and distributed. Monetary contributions or gift cards in lieu of the listed items are also welcome. The funds are used by the Metropolis Philoptochos to purchase items from the wish list. The full Operation Housewarming Wish List and donation instructions can be found here.
Under the leadership of His Eminence Metropolitan Methodios, at a small Christmas gathering in 2012 with veterans and VA Leaders of the VA New England Healthcare System, we quickly implemented this ministry and began outreach to our communities in early 2013. The first delivery of Housewarming Baskets began with VA Medical Centers in Bedford and Brockton, Massachusetts, representing the largest homeless veterans’ programs in the VA New England Healthcare System. The program was quickly embraced by all Philoptochos Chapters, Clergy and Stewards across our Metropolis.
The first collection and delivery of baskets in May 2013 occurred from the home of one of the Chairwomen of the ministry. The items collected, completed 40 baskets from her home parish in Brockton, MA through the support of the Parish Priest, Philoptochos Chapter, GOYA and parishioners at large.
Subsequently Chapters in close proximity to the Metropolis began collecting the Wish List items and bringing them to the Metropolis Center where the Program Chairs organize and coordinate with VA representatives for delivery to the veterans on a regular basis. This ministry continues to thrive due to the overwhelming support and generosity of all the Philoptochos chapters and parish communities at large.
The program is promoted on an on-going basis with an emphasis on Memorial Day; National Independence Day; Veterans Day and Christmas Holidays.
How has Operation Housewarming grown?
Beginning in 2014 Chapters at great distance from the Metropolis are provided with guidance and contact information for delivery to a VA facility closest to their respective parish.
In 2018 the program was expanded to include homeless female veterans and veterans with children.
In 2019 the Metropolis Philoptochos began providing X-mas presents to the veterans and children at the VA Medical Center; Bedford MA. The Philoptochos Chapter of Brockton provided the same for those at the VA Medical Center; Brockton MA.
In 2020 the program has been expanded to include homeless veterans living in foster homes. These veterans cannot live alone due to developmental disabilities yet are borderline for hospitalization. People have opened their homes to them offering them a safe and nurturing environment. Ultimately avoiding hospitalization altogether. The Metropolis Philoptochos provided the items on their Wishlist which are activities for keeping them stimulated particularly during the “Stay at Home “pandemic.
The success of Operation Housewarming in our Metropolis has caught the attention of the National Philoptochos and the program gained national recognition and became a National Philoptochos initiative.
The VA New England Healthcare System extended recognition to our Metropolis and Philoptochos for the work with veterans on two occasions:
Friends of Social Service Award in 2018
Certificate of Appreciation in 2020 to both chair ladies
Over the years, VA representatives and veterans who have partaken in this program have attended Philoptochos meetings to not only express their gratitude but also make known the impact that we are truly having on the veteran community. Our Metropolis Board continues to receive recognition for its work from the Veteran’s Affairs Leadership.
Our brave service men and women have made great sacrifices to serve our country and to protect all of us. It is important to show them that we appreciate their sacrifice that we care and are eager to assist them as they return to civilian life and a new chapter in their lives.
Thank you for your ongoing support.