Standing Up

At the 2016 Stand Down on former Fort Ord, volunteers manned tents while an estimated 425 veterans accessed services and enjoyed camaraderie.

The military term to "stand down" means to pause the fighting. In the parlance of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, it means a pause in the daily fight for survival. The Stand Down is a national day of gathering for homeless veterans, with an invitation to come together—to camp out, if so desired—and to get access to a whole range of services. 

This year's Covid-safe event does not include camping, but it offers a lot in a day: meals and clothing are distributed; medical and dental exams are available; the SPCA provides veterinary services and vaccinations to pets; chaplains and counselors are available to talk; there's expert help with accessing benefits from the VA, Social Security, CalFresh (food stamps) and discharge status; and for those who need legal assistance with a criminal charge, there's legal assistance available. It's sponsored by the nonprofit Veterans Transition Center.

Veterans of any discharge status are welcome to attend the 2021 Monterey County Stand Down today, June 18, from 9am-4pm at 249 10th St., in Marina. Covid-19 safety protocols apply, and masks will be issued to attendees. Drugs (including cannabis), alcohol and weapons are not permitted on site, and can either be stored offsite, or disposed of in an amnesty box at the event. 

"The purpose of this event is to insure that as many homeless veterans in distress in the Central California coastal area have an opportunity to receive help and assistance," Logistics Coordinator John W. Tomkinson (a Vietnam veteran) wrote in a welcome statement on the Stand Down website. "Veterans are welcome at this event who feels they have needs to be met."

For more information about today's event, visit montereystanddown.org or call (650) 422-0163.

Sara Rubin loves long public meetings, red pens and reading (on newsprint). She has been editor of the Monterey County Weekly since 2016, and has been on staff since 2010.

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