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Join us for a 5K race or walk, with post-race food and festivities, to help improve the lives of our Low Country Veterans. Proceeds will go to helping Low Country Veterans and, after the race, speakers will honor our Veterans and explain how you can help our local Veterans.
Many Low Country veterans are in need of food and other basic essentials. There are about 2,500 veterans living below the poverty line in Charleston, and one out of every five Low Country residents getting food at local food banks is a veteran. Further, over 11% of veterans, from ages 18 to 64, report food insecurity; that's more than twice the rate for non-veterans. Recently, these problems have worsened significantly for our veterans, due to the termination of COVID-related government aid, combined with high inflation.
Many local veterans also need support for their mental well-being. Multiple deployments and other stresses of military service have left many veterans with invisible wounds: injuries to their mental health. The rate of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among soldiers is nearly 15 times higher than the rate for civilians. For veterans currently leaving military service, it is estimated that: 30% have, or will have, PTSD symptoms; 20% suffered a traumatic brain injury; and 10% have an addiction to substances. These invisible wounds, often combined with the financial difficulties described above, have led to an alarming rate of homelessness and suicide within our veteran community. The homeless rate for veterans is twice that of non-veterans, and the suicide rate is 1.5 times greater than that of non-veterans. About 22 veterans commit suicide a day, and nearly three quarters are not under VA care. Since 9/11, the number of veterans our country has lost to suicide is more than 4 times greater than the number of combat deaths.
This Veterans Day 5k event will help Low Country veterans who need -- and deserve -- our support. Proceeds from this event will go to organizations that provide direct support to Low Country veterans: the Food Pantry at Charleston's Veteran's Hospital; and the Lowcountry Veterans organization. The Food Pantry at the VA Medical Center provides and distributes food to local veterans, and advises on nutrition and health. Lowcountry Veterans provides transitional housing to homeless veterans in the Charleston area, housing up to 300 veterans each year in a drug and alcohol-free environment. It also provides food and transportation, and facilitates educational and employment opportunities, to help veterans find stable employment and housing.
Just as important as the financial support, this Veterans Day 5k provides moral support; it sends a message to all of our local veterans that Charleston cares for, values and honors them. With this event, we can help to heal the invisible wounds to our veterans' morale by showing them that they matter to us, and by increasing awareness of these wounds. At the event, participants can learn more about these invisible wounds, how to assess the risk of suicide, and how to get help for veterans at risk of hunger, homelessness or suicide.
If you have any questions or concerns about the 5k, please feel free to call Lisa Deaton at 843-224-7878.
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