This Holiday season, First Victory Apparel is giving back to homeless veterans in local Pittsburgh PA. We are partnering with Veterans Leadership Program in donating beanies to homeless veterans before the winter begins. We have over 330 homeless veterans in Pittsburgh alone... and you can help this cause starting November 1st.
What is the Veterans Leadership Program?
The Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania serves 3,400 veterans and their families annually. This provides 16 programs including housing, employment, supportive services, and wellness across 20 counties in Western and Central PA. The VLP is the only Veteran non-profit in the Pittsburgh area that has a housing program just for Women Veterans called Project Journey. This program provides emergency housing and financial assistance to Women Veterans (and their families) that are facing unforeseen hardships.
It goes without saying that the VLP makes a big impact to the veteran community. Within the community this winter, homeless veterans tackle the harsh and unexpected weather we have in the north. Not everyone in our country experiences these winters, but many suffer throughout the holidays with minimal help to get by. After contacting the VLP about donating our time or products to give back to veterans, we found a creative way to get involved.
Why the Beanies and What Do They Mean
First Victory Apparel was created by Ethan Merritt after a deployment overseas to the Middle East with the US Army. He found himself in this veteran category for the first time upon returning home ready to take on the civilian world once again. The difference was, many veterans before him experience the realities of war and combat that he did not face while deployed. As an infantryman and a leader, he is not only trained to take a platoon into combat, but to have empathy for his Soldiers beyond the training they accomplish. Leadership is more than tactics, but it is creating motivation and having true understanding for individuals that work for YOU. Like many veterans will agree, experience of service vary tremendously. Ethan saw mental health issues associated with combat veterans, PTSD, and homelessness, right in his backyard and wanted to find a way to help.
Creating the beanie was a means of fashion and branding for Ethan when he first started. Working with apparel on the side of a production company (First Victory Films, home of the 'FVF' logo) earlier on, he always enjoyed the winter even though he originated from California. Why not create a simple product to market? He worked with a few test products until finding a beanie that fit well and had the right label to show the brand he was creating. As many small businesses start, the profit margins are shaky in the beginning at best. Ethan imagined finding a way to give back to veterans through his brand in hopes to inspire others to do the same. In 2019, this was finally attainable. This year, Ethan is supplying over 100 beanies as a guarantee to donate to VLP, but with help from you, he hopes to go beyond the goal of every homeless veteran in Pittsburgh (all 330) by December 1st.
How to Help the Beanie Campaign
Helping the campaign is pretty simple. Every single item that is ordered from a hoodie, to leggings, to a dad hat and more... will provide a beanie to a homeless veteran before the winter! These orders will be tracked from November 1st to December 1st, with the giveaway in person at the VLP Christmas Part on December 12th. The first 100 beanies are on Ethan as an initial donation, but orders after will help supply the rest with the goal of getting to 330. BUT... First Victory Apparel is here to help!
We will continue to offer holiday deals and giveaways on our Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as our Email List members for the ENTIRE month of November. We love and appreciate the family we have been creating, and the holiday time we are trying to give as much back to you all as we can! By purchasing our products this year on a discount we will still be donating beanies. Another way to help would be sharing, tagging, and telling others about this donation we are planning to help more veterans moving forward. We appreciate all you have done with FVA, please share this article on social media to continue this campaign into a success!