Meeting veterans needs during the pandemic


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester’s Veterans Outreach Center continues to provide an array of services for veterans in our community despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

VOC Executive Director Laura Stradley discussed how the pandemic has impacted the organization Monday during News 8 at Noon.

Stradley says at the beginning of the pandemic essential services offered by VOC remained open, but many of its programs went virtural. Now, VOC is open for in-person appointments at its South Avenue location in Rochester. Safety protocols are in place, including taking each person’s temperature, proper social distancing, and ensuring that everyone is wearing a mask. VOC is also happy to serve veterans remotely as well.

Stradley says the pandemic has given VOC the opportunity to identify new ways to connect to veterans virtually, which is a service the organization has been looking to improve. VOC is now offering to some of its most vulnerable veterans tablets with internet connectivity so they can stay in touch with important providers in the community, and family and friends.

VOC has also enjoyed terrific partnerships with groups all over the community. “Probably the best one that I’m so excited about right now is our partnership with RTS. Veterans are now riding completely for free on all RTS buses. If you are interested and are somebody who uses public transportation get on our website or give us a call and we will be happy to set up a time for you to come in and get your bus card which is completely free and is good for the next three years.”

Fundraising remains an ongoing need at VOC. Golf Fore Veterans is coming up next Monday, July 27 at Midvale Country Club. Due to the pandemic the format for the fundraiser has been altered. “It will be a casual day of golf. Golfers are invited to choose a tee time. Every 10 minutes folks will be teeing off. There won’t be the normal big gathering, including a dinner at the end, but there will be a cocktail reception on the 18th green.”

Stradley noted, “Many other events that we normally rely on that generate revenue are not happening and, of course, there’s some uncertainty with the State with funding that we get there so we really would love for anybody who’s interested in a sponsorship or day of golf to come on out on the 27th and join us.”

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