SOURCE: Help Hospitalized Veterans

Help Hospitalized Veterans

March 18, 2011 13:01 ET

Veterans Home Chow Hall Serves Up Arts and Crafts

WINCHESTER, CA--(Marketwire - March 18, 2011) - After a 40 year career in sales, Timothy Barker, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, took on a different kind of work assignment -- this time as a Craft Care Specialist (CCS) for the Yountville, California Veterans Home.

Barker serves over 1,000 veterans age 55 and over by supplying them with arts & crafts kits provided by national nonprofit organization Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV). The organization also employs 60 CCS's, like Barker, who are also stationed at VA and military hospitals.

"Many of the veterans who reside here have little to no regular visitors, so they occupy their time with creativity. The arts & crafts provide them with something both therapeutic and constructive to do," says Barker. "Working on the kits enriches their lives in a variety of ways. Once a veteran starts working on a kit, hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, attitude and outlook begin to show improvement. Many of the veterans will start to open up about their experiences while working on a kit. The arts & crafts are a conduit to relaxation and fun and the benefits of the increased socialization with other veterans cannot be overstated."

The HHV arts & crafts program has flourished since Barker arrived three years ago. "We're giving out over 800 kits per month," said Barker. "I set up a display in the chow hall twice a week, where there can be 500 veterans eating at the same time. It's busy and noisy but when I set up the display tables a buzz starts going through the room and before long the veterans start clamoring for kits. I can't open the boxes fast enough -- that is how much demand there is for them," Barker added. The Yountville veterans home is comprised of primarily Vietnam and Korean War veterans and about 20% of those are women according to Barker. "The women enjoy the kits very much, particularly the paint by numbers, sun catchers and the latch hook kits. It's great that HHV ensures that women have kits that interest them as well. The veterans cannot thank HHV enough for all they are doing to make their lives brighter. They are just so appreciative that they are not forgotten and people care enough to make these kits possible," said Barker.

Since 1971, HHV has donated over 26 million arts & crafts free of charge. For more information on HHV programs and services, visit www.hhv.org or phone 1-888-567-VETS.

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