The United War Veterans Council is collecting valentines until February 8 to be distributed to veterans across the five boroughs, including those at the Brooklyn VA Hospital.
Donations can be dropped off at the Greenhouse Cafe, 7713 Third Avenue, through Wednesday, February 8 with a celebration planned for the veterans who are unable to leave the facility at the Brooklyn VA from 2-4 p.m. on February 13.
Alternatively, packages can also be mailed to or dropped off at 245 West Houston Street, Room 208, New York, NY 10014. Aside from cards, donations can also consist of adult coloring books, puzzles, alcohol-free toiletries, clothes, jewelry, chocolates and pre-packaged snacks (including sugar-free alternatives).
All donations must be unwrapped and unsealed for review, and can be addressed to veterans, military service members or their families. People can volunteer for the celebrations occurring from February 13 to February 15 as well as the card and package vetting process taking place February 11.
For Angela Coyle in UWVC community relations, favorite moments include “really making them feel special” and “watching them smile.” For more information on volunteering, contact Coyle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This event marks the 10th year the Valentine Caravan is making its rounds. It is meant to “reminds the public of the debt of honor we owe to our veterans” said UWVC spokesperson Patrick Smith.
Outside of this event, the UWVC also produces the largest parade honoring veterans’ military service in the nation. Currently, the New York City Veteran’s Parade is estimated to have half a million viewers and 40,000 participants. This is the result of a 1985 campaign to restore military pride carried out by officers who had served in the Vietnam era.
Currently, the organization is led by veterans of 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan. Their main focus is on advocacy, support and sustainability.