Driving around the Macclenny area late last week, you’d likely come across people soliciting cash for an organization billing itself as the Disabled Veterans Foundation.
Clad in camouflage fatigues and handing out miniature American flags, motorists got the impression they were veterans helping other vets with “food, clothing, housing and work.” That’s what it said on those sandwich signs posted at collection points.
The newspaper (and city hall) fielded numerous telephone inquiries as to just who these people were. Are they legit, callers wanted to know.
We posted on the newspaper’s Facebook page an article indicating the Plantation-based non-profit organization may not be what it’s cracked up to be. The gist: it’s unclear how much of what it collects actually ends up in the pockets of down-and-out veterans.
Yours truly spoke with one of the collectors (a nice gentleman), who made the startling revelation that until recently he had been homeless. He was part of the Disabled Veterans Foundation team moving from city to city collecting money.
He was being paid, and the non-profit was footing travel expenses for the group. He seemed truly grateful for the opportunity.
According to a Miami television station, this and other similar organizations that tug at the heart strings of Americans concerned about the fate of our veterans are out there collecting money. They are not affiliated with government agencies like the Veterans Administration, and many of them are, well, a bit on the shady side.