Camping Out to Raise Awareness for Homeless Veterans

HAZLE TOWNSHIP -- It might have been a chilly night to go camping, but that’s just what one group in Luzerne County did.

The goal is to draw attention to the challenges facing homeless veterans.

The group Voices 4 The Fallen along with the Berwick VFW hosted the second annual Homeless Veteran Awareness Sleep-Out on Saturday.

They set up flags, a campfire, and even a homemade tent along Route 309 near Hazleton.

A mountain of blankets and food grew. Some donations came from those helped by last year’s campout.

“For them to come back and pay it forward, it just means a lot,” said Cynders Hunsicker, Voices 4 the Fallen.

The former Army sergeant's knows the hardship first-hand.

“I was a homeless vet. It was only for a short amount of time, about a month, still I know what it's like,” said Hunsicker.

While the clock will run out on the two night campout, organizers hope the generosity keeps coming.

Last year, organizers built a tent out of tarps and wood to show the conditions homeless veterans live in. Now it has become a place people can drop off donations all year long.

Nathan Jacoby of Harveys Lake attends several military funerals every week on his flag flying motorcycle. He sees what happens when struggling vets go it alone.

“I have to be at Indian Town Gap Monday morning for a veteran with no known family,” Jacoby said.

The camp out will continue until 3 p.m. Sunday. Organizers say donations of used camping gear, like sleeping bags, are really needed.