TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - The local VA hosted its annual luncheon for homeless veterans Monday morning, where hundreds of vets were served a warm holiday meal. They were also given basic necessities like hygiene items and knitted hats to help get them through the winter.
The veterans are part of the VA's homeless outreach program, meaning the VA is working to help get them into permanent homes.
According to the VA, the luncheon is just one small way to thank them for their service while bringing awareness to a larger issue in Southern Arizona.
The program was started nearly 10 years ago and only served 70 military veterans. Now, the VA said it's grown to more than 700 participants.
Officials at the VA said it can continue to grow its outreach through community sponsors. Monday's luncheon was a way to celebrate the partnership in the community.
"It's a huge priority for our mayor for the City of Tucson and our surrounding communities to get homeless veterans off the streets. And this is just a celebrations of that partnership," said Toni Bravo, a longtime social worker at the VA.
Meanwhile, the veterans said they enjoyed each other's company especially during the holiday season.
"It's just a blessing, you know, you have so many negatives and to get some positives and this is one of the positives. It picks you up it makes you feel good, it makes you thankful. You know there are somethings to not be thankful for but you can reach out here and get that love people are giving," said Daniel Lyons, an Army Veteran.
Officials at the VA say the community's help is always needed, whether that be through donations or volunteering. Click here if you would like to help: