Upstate Stand Down for Homeless Veterans

Welcome to the Upstate Stand Down website!

Most of us can’t imagine what it is like to awaken each morning needing a change of clothes, a hot shower, a safe haven of shelter, a warm blanket, a hearty meal or a simple bottle of shampoo. We can’t begin to imagine what is must be like to need a job and not know how to find it, to need housing, benefits and services that can’t be accessed because information is often non-existent and there is no transportation to get to those agencies that could provide help. It would be so easy to just give up and completely withdraw from mainstream society.

Our veterans in need, those in our own community neighborhoods, are struggling everyday with these challenges. The 2014 Upstate Stand Down is committed to identifying and bringing in as many homeless veterans, veterans at risk for homelessness, veterans in need and their families in all of the eleven (11) counties of the upstate and several North Carolina counties on Stand Down day, October 9, 2014.

Our primary goal is to identify and serve ALL VETERANS IN NEED AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS. Each veteran determines his or her definition of “need.” For example, one veteran may attend Stand Down to search for employment only while another veteran may need and wish to access primarily all of the information and services provided on this day. Again, it is solely the decision of the individual veteran and family members to choose those opportunities that are specific and beneficial to their situation and level of need.

Our mission is to provide life’s essentials to help them face the cold winter and to give them the means to improve their quality of life…one step at a time. The ultimate spirit of Stand Down is fueled by love, a sense of belonging and acceptance and letting our veterans in need know they are valued and appreciated for their service and sacrifice. For our participants on Stand Down day, tension becomes relaxation, isolation turns to interaction, mistrust becomes trust, hopelessness transforms to hope itself, and the sense of being forgotten is changed to “Yes, indeed, I am remembered!”

We are honored that you have taken the time from life’s busy schedule to review information and opportunities regarding the 2014 Upstate Stand Down. Your interest in learning more about this incredible event speaks to your heart of patriotism and compassion for others. We are so very grateful. Please read on!

Our Highest Purpose

Stand Down represents a unique, community-based response to a human need not being met by traditional means. Stand Down is a community of volunteers and participants brought together in a spirit of caring and respect to inspire the hope and invigorate the will of homeless veterans, veterans at risk for homelessness and veterans in need. The major goal is to provide a vast array of opportunities, services and warm, inviting person-to-person contact so each veteran can muster the individual, internal energy and initiative needed to renew and/or rebuild his or her life. Changes in individual lives, as well as community awareness and commitment, are the most enduring outcomes of Stand Down.

Operation Restoration CDC

Operation Restoration CDC, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina, serves as the lead agency for Upstate Stand Down. All facets of Upstate Stand Down, to include planning, comprehensive work of the steering committee, event day and follow-up, are coordinated and organized through Operation Restoration CDC, staff and board. For more information about Operation Restoration CDC please click here to visit their website.

Our Results – 2013 Upstate Stand Down

  • 2013 Upstate Stand Down expanded from a 4 county service area (2012) to all 11 counties of the Upstate (2013). Attendance of veterans in need and family members served increased by 66% (215 total – 185 veterans & 30 family members – 2012) to (358 total – 308 veterans & 50 family members – 2013).
  • 99.9% of veterans and family members reported Improved Quality of Life based on USD participation.
  • 99.9% of veterans and family members reported USD was a Highly Valuable Experience.
  • 100% of veterans and family members indicated they would Participate Again in USD.
  • 100% of service providers and volunteers reported USD was a Highly Valuable Experience.
  • 100% of service providers and volunteers reported they would Participate Again in USD.
  • 50% increase was indicated in community wide volunteer support.
  • 40% increase was indicated in funding sponsors & in-kind donors.
  • 10 veterans received housing.
  • 125 flu shots were administered, in addition to 160 carotid artery screenings & 250 blood pressure checks. Referrals were made for further evaluation as appropriate.
  • Approximately 1,000 meals and “meals to go” bag lunches were served.
  • Over 40 veterans were provided emergency dental care with many extractions performed.
  • Approximately $100,000 of military surplus clothing and supplies, civilian clothes and comfort kits were distributed. All items were donated.
  • Approximately 125 haircuts were given.
  • Approximately 300 vision screenings were conducted. Participants received reading magnifiers & eye care supplies.
  • Approximately 35 service and information booths were established for participants to gain information and services, ex.: social services, chaplaincy services, legal services, education and employment opportunities, veterans benefits counseling, etc., to initiate &/or further reintegration back into the community.

Lives were changed and hope was renewed for so many on Upstate Stand Down day because of enormous community support, volunteers and partnerships.  We hope YOU will join us in the 2014 Upstate Stand Down and this special and unique opportunity “to serve those who have served.”

Our Goals – 2014 Upstate Stand Down

Because of the remarkable success and outcomes evidenced at 2013 Upstate Stand Down, the following goals are being addressed by this year’s event steering committee.  These goals are:

  • Increase/set target to serve 500 participants (40% increase compared to 2013 Upstate Stand Down) to include all veterans in need, homeless veterans, veterans at risk for homelessness and their families.
  • Expand 11 county catchment area of the Upstate to include several surrounding North Carolina counties. Counties to be served are Spartanburg, Greenville, Cherokee, Union, Laurens, Abbeville, Greenwood, Newberry, Oconee, Pickens and Anderson, in addition to counties in North Carolina that border or are within close proximity to Spartanburg and the Upstate.
  • Review, evaluate and modify services. Services will be expanded based upon needs indicated at 2013 Upstate Stand Down.
  • Implement continuous improvement strategies in all facets of the event based upon survey data provided by participants, volunteers and staff.
  • Develop strategies for continuous improvement for all aspects of the project based upon last year’s survey data provided by participants, volunteers and staff.
  • Increase public awareness, community involvement and sponsorship/donor base across the 11 county catchment area. 

Please Become a Sponsor

Our many veterans in need, right here in our own community and in the upstate, are forced, tragically, to “make do” or “do without” life’s essentials on a daily basis.  A few examples include everything from a clean change of clothing, a hot meal, basic medical and dental care, employment, and most of all, hope.  These are the unseen faces and unspoken voices of those who have greatly sacrificed, and still are, in order that we may celebrate and enjoy our freedom.

By serving as a funding sponsor and partner, you are actively demonstrating three things… 1) your deepest gratitude, 2) your belief and 3) your investment in those who have given and served, so nobly and faithfully.

Please Become an In-Kind Donor

Items and goods given to our beloved veterans and their family members on Upstate Stand Down day provide the “special and needed touches” that we so often take for granted in the hurried  pace of this life.  Our participants are literally showered with the much needed small incidentals that they cannot afford or access.

The philosophy and practice at all  levels of the Upstate Stand Down is the provision of a “hand up, not a hand-out” approach.  This applies to one-on-one interactions and counsel with our veterans, the distribution of items and goods, the offering of services and benefits, and short and long term resolutions to individual challenges.  By serving as an in-kind donor and partner, you are helping, significantly, to fulfill this  covenant.

Volunteers Needed

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  Never has this proven more true than with the many volunteers who have experience with the Upstate Stand Down. Whether food services, medical services, registration, handing out clothing and supplies, or offering an arm as a personal guide throughout the day there are vacancies that only YOU can fill!

Many of the folks who signed up for morning hours last year would not leave when their shift was over. We promise that as valuable as your time is, you will receive more than you give! We love our veterans, and we love our volunteers!

Schedule an Upstate Stand Down Presentation

Dr. Craig Burnette serves as the Media Representative and Spokesperson for 2014 Upstate Stand Down. If your business, organization, civic club, veterans services agency, or entity is interested in scheduling Dr. Burnette as a guest speaker, please contact him at (864) 384-6593 or e-mail {This email is obscured. Your must have javascript enabled to see it}. Dr. Burnette is a powerful and dynamic presenter with vast experience and knowledge related to the issue of homelessness with a special emphasis on homeless veterans. Audiences who have heard him speak repeatedly remark his message is unforgettable and one that everyone should hear! Please click on the Press and Video sections of our website to learn more about Dr. Burnette’s expertise, qualifications and accomplishments.