Article via West Side Today
August 19, 2016 11:54 am by: Staff Report Category: events, FeaturedLeave a comment A+ / A-
By Kelly Hartog
In Jan 2016, Brentwood Village business owners came together with the Brentwood Village Business Improvement District and the Brentwood Village Chamber of Commerce to launch the Village for Vets organization.
Spearheaded by Brentwood Village business owner Marcie Polier Swartz, a Brentwood resident since 1987, Village for Vets is an opportunity to support Veterans through the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration. The initiative came about after Ann Brown was appointed as the new director of the West L.A. VA in January and was happy to work with the local community.
Given that Brentwood Village shares two of the VA’s parking lots, there was an even greater desire among the business community to help the VA. In addition, Polier Swartz has a personal connection to the West L.A. VA. She has a family member who is a veteran and is there with him several times a year.
Village for Vets’ website states, ‘We take pride in our longstanding connection to the West Los Angeles VA,’ and Polier Swartz told Brentwood News the organization is reaching out to community members to get involved along with the local businesses.
“We have always wanted to support the VA in a meaningful way, and now that new leadership is in place at the VA, and the legislative offices are in support of us working together for the betterment of all, we needed a local vehicle,” she said.
Enter Village for Vets. The organization has applied for its 5013c non-profit status and Polier Swartz said they expect the approval to come through before the end of the year.
Since its launch in January, Village for Vets has sponsored two Super Bowl parties on the campus for the Vets who frequent the Welcome Center; participated in the Memorial Day 5k with a booth donated by the Brentwood Village Chamber of Commerce; and donated Dr. Shelley’s Read n View devices to the Medical Center.
Upcoming events include a clothing drive and a community wide fundraiser sponsored by Maddy Alfano and Maria’s Italian Kitchens, which will take place in November.
Funds from that event will be earmarked for housing packages to support vets moving off campus into HUD (Housing and Urban Development) housing.
Polier Swartz said Village for Vets has started to galvanize the community. “At the 5k event we had so many sign-ups for volunteers and ideas. One request came from a vet to donate art supplies and hold art classes,” she said. “The community is coming together slowly to support the VA. Word needs to circulate that we now have a vehicle, a calendar of events, and a big mission. To learn more about Village for Vets and to get involved, visitvillageforvets.org.