Tonawanda News

Local News

January 10, 2013

Keeping warm

Local chapter never stops seeking help for homeless vets


Tonawanda News — Tidd estimates Chapter 120 is the most active chapter in Western New York.

“I would put my chapter up against anybody,” he said. “The need is always there. We just try to help everybody that we can.

“We just keep trying; that’s all we can do.”

Money is raised through the annual Forget-Me-Not drive, and donations also come through organizations, churches and businesses. Tidd particularly praised Frank Budwey of Budwey’s Supermarkets for his help over the years, both in hosting the Forget-Me-Not campaign and food drives at his store and making donations.

Mark Francis, volunteer program manager for the VA Western New York Healthcare Center, said that Chapter 120, under Tidd’s direction, has donated thousands of dollars in items or activities for fellow veterans over the years.

“He’s doing a lot for our end,” Francis said. “He’s adopted those areas and they’re kind of near and dear to his heart. He also has a very good open conversation with the homeless veterans program, so when needs come up here and there, he and his organization try to help them in any way they can.”

Activities, such as holiday pizza parties the group has presented for those in the heath care system, also make a difference, Francis said.

“He has definitely made an impact on the veterans here in Western New York,” he said. “I can’t say enough about the generosity from the DAV.

“He’s definitely got a great heart and we appreciate all they do for us.”

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, nearly 200,000 veterans throughout the United States are homeless — more than 21,000 in New York state. Twenty-three percent of the country’s homeless population are veterans, according to the Erie County Veterans Service Agency Homeless Veterans Resource Center.

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