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Dozens expected at Columbia Vet Center’s Veterans Day outreach event

In honor of Veterans Day, several businesses and nonprofit organizations are either hosting events or offering free food for veterans Saturday.

The Columbia Vet Center will host an outreach event using its mobile unit, which is a 40-foot-long recreational vehicle, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The purpose of the event is to offer veterans readjustment counseling, teach them about available resources and give them an opportunity to meet the Vet Center staff.

The Columbia Mobile Vet Center offers its services throughout the year and across 38 counties in Missouri.

Veterans, especially combat veterans, often have a hard time readjusting to civilian life, according to the Vet Center.

Tim Rich, executive director of Welcome Home, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans in need, said one-third of the homeless population are veterans, and it’s because they usually have a mental illness after serving in the military, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We have to get them in, we have to feed them, clean them up, give them a safe place. Once you’ve done that then you can begin to work with them on, ‘How do we get you integrated back into society and restore your life?’ I want to honor our veterans, but we also need to help restore their lives, and that takes a whole lot of services and partnerships,” Rich said.

Hy-Vee grocery stores offered free breakfast for veterans from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Applebee’s offered free lunch or dinner to veterans during business hours Saturday.

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