Voluntary Services at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa is hosting the Homeward Bound for those Who Served program.

President John F. Kennedy once said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”

Shelby Schoenborn would agree with President Kennedy’s statement. Schoenborn is the voluntary service specialist at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa. Schoenborn and her team are coordinating an event at the hospital called Homeward Bound for those who served. It will be taking place on Saturday, October 26, which is Make a Difference Day.

“Make a Difference Day was developed in 1992 by USA Weekend Magazine, now managed by USA Today,” Schoenborn said. “The goal was to get people in their free time on a specific day of each year making a difference in their communities. James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital adopted the program in 2006 as a mechanism to helping veterans in medical foster care get items they need and want.”

Support from the community makes it possible for Shoenborn and her team to provide extra niceties to veterans residing in medical foster homes to enhance their quality of life.

“We hope that the Brandon community will join us this year to support the Homeward Bound for those Who Served project,” Schoenborn said. “The Medical Foster Home program provides placement for approximately 60 non-service connected veterans who are dependent, chronically or terminally ill with limited family and financial support.”

The items that are most needed for the project are body wash, razors, book lights, CD players, large print books, socks, sunscreen and VISA gift cards.

“We’ve got 60 patients in Medical Foster Homes in the area and seeking as much as we can to help those homes stock up for the year,” Schoenborn said.

Donors may drop off items to Voluntary Service at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital at 13000 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. in Tampa between 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday, or email Schoenborn at Shelby.Schoenborn@va.gov to schedule a time outside those hours. Donations are needed by Friday, October 4.

If you would like to deliver the items in person to the veterans on Make a Difference Day, you will need to register with Schoenborn through her email address.

“We hope to show gratitude to America’s heroes through this program,” Schoenborn said. “It offers up a moment to a veteran who is homebound to get recognized by the community.”

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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.