The result of years of hard work, rallying behind veterans and military families, is finally paying off for the non-profit Blues For Vets. After playing 33 events, and raising $60,720 for WNY non-profits serving veterans and military families, the organization is now in the works of launching an on-line, digital hub, and resource directory called 211Vets.
The new regional suite of online resources will provide bundled access to a number of veteran services such as counseling, healthcare, housing, employment, education, legal help, arts/music and outdoors programs, as well as access to spousal and family help, support groups like VFW and American Legion posts, including fundraising and advocacy.
This latest effort was made possible thanks to the sales of $10 event tickets, $10 t-shirts, caps, and CDs via Buffalo Blues Benefit for Veterans. This “small-steps strategy” is the result of the selfless dedication of 200 WNY musicians that played the concerts gratis. To that end, there was also no paid staff, and no county, state, foundation or grant funding. We’re talking about a real grassroots effort that took an entire community to bring to fruition.
“This is it,” stated activist and guitarist Bob James. “We started this project to explore what might be possible when you pushed music and art beyond entertainment and inspiration into community development. It looks like the ‘211Vets’ project might just add a new chapter in what our WNY arts community can do when we come together around a critical need. www.211WNY.org, linked to United Way, is the 24-7 referral service where 211Vets will be a partner. 211WNY has a long and successful history and it’s a perfect partner for 211Vets with its infrastructure in place.”
The extensive, region-wide 24-7 referral service system was also made possible thanks to the dedication of the Community Veterans Engagement Board of WNY (cVebWNY), a regional collaboration of non-profits, businesses, local leaders and concerned citizens. It was these groups that helped to strategically format how 211Vets would operate, who it would serve, and the easiest ways that consumers – WNY Veterans and the military community – could “navigate an ocean of regional resources.”
On Memorial Day, May 25, 2020, starting at noon, the community will have a chance to attend a a 211Vets fundraising event at the Hamburg Brewing Co, 6553 Boston State Road, Hamburg, NY. A $10 donation at the gate is requested.
Lead image: Batavia – Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association CVMA 19-6 | The Community Veterans Engagement Board of WNY is active setting strategies for improving regional services for Veterans & Military families.