LUBBOCK, Texas — The Lubbock Veterans Assistance clinic held its 13th annual VA2K Walk & Roll event this morning with the goal of moving the body in support of health and well-being, while also helping homeless Veterans.

Veterans, Local Organizations, and members of the community gathered to help provide resources for Lubbock Veterans. While focusing on getting them active, they also collected donations for care packages to hand out to homeless veterans.

“If you take a look at who’s here, there’s a lot of veterans, there’s a lot of community outreach who are here, the Lubbock Police Department is here a lot of the vet centers are here, Walmart is here, so we’ve got a really good turnout, not just veterans, but we’ve got community involvement as well,” said Mike Lewis, assistant director of the Amarillo VA healthcare system.

The 2K marathon consisted of five laps around the clinic, programs discussing how they can help veterans, and food trucks for lunch and snacks.

The VA is still collecting donations for those looking to help out homeless veterans. According to the local homeless count conducted each year, the number of homeless veterans has decreased each year. In 2022, there were an estimated 13 veterans on the streets of Lubbock, this year there were nine reported.

“We’ve got a big cardboard box where people can donate food items, they can donate clothing, anything that they think a veteran in need would require to get along in their daily life,” Lewis said.

Matt Benischek, program supervisor of the homeless veteran reintegration program at VetStar said he has seen firsthand how these programs help veterans off the street and on to a better path.

“I take it personally because as many of the other veterans around here can tell you, these are our brothers and sisters, we care about each other. we know the battle and the sacrifice that we’ve all been through, we’ve all been through it ourselves, so it’s a little deeper to us to help each other out and build each other back up” Benischek said.

Monique Mills, a Navy veteran who works at the VA clinic, showed her support, by making her laps, for her brothers and sisters.

“As a veteran myself, just to help to give back to those veterans that may be less fortunate that are going through difficult times right now, it’s just a way to get us all out for the community to show our love and support for our nation’s heroes,” Mills said.