SAN JOSE, Calif. - The San Jose-based nonprofit "Open Doors to Future Possibilities" will be fundraising on Veteran’s Day to expand its services to help veterans. The majority are homeless in Santa Clara County. The nonprofit’s founder said it’s trying to keep up with demand.
"We have a lot of veterans that have a hard time even holding onto a regular job because of replaying of all those memories," said Founder Dr. Simone Lundquist.
Lundquist, who worked in community mental health services for years, started the nonprofit " back in 2019. The nonprofit helps more than 1,500 veterans and their families in Santa Clara County with groceries, transitional housing and counseling all for free.
"Santa Clara County unfortunately has a lot of homeless veterans," said Dr. Lundquist.
Lundquist said their services are more in demand as more military service members return home from overseas.
"Especially after the withdrawal from Afghanistan," said Dr. Lundquist. "We are having troops coming back. They need a lot of help. They are coming back feeling they didn't fulfill their goals over there."
The nonprofit is raising money to hire more staff and to move to a space three times bigger for more therapy rooms. They are also moving to the first floor to accommodate veterans with disabilities.
"They feel like they don’t really know where to go once they come back home," said Consultant Ellen Fosse.
Fosse helps distribute boxes of food and clothing to upwards of 100 veterans in the South Bay every other Friday.
Office Manager Irene Raymond, a single mother who has dealt with trauma herself, wants to give back.
"I know what it’s like to need help and now that I’ve been lucky enough to get the help that I need, I’d like to give others help," said Raymond.
All of them see veterans in need day in and day out during the pandemic. They hope to show them care and gratitude.
"Support our veterans in any way you can," said Fosse. "They need us now. They have done so much for us."
The nonprofit has started a Gofundme.
For those interested and wanting to learn more about them, they will be collecting donations at the Bass Pro Shop in San Jose on Thursday at 2 p.m.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.