By: Marquese Howard, Riverside County DCSS
Free meals, duffle bags, toiletries, medical and dental services brought in over 350 military veterans to the Veterans’ Day Stand Down at March Air Force Reserve Base in September, but for many, the bigger gift came in the form of discovering their eligibility for ongoing resources designed to help and support them.
The trove of goodies and services available at the Stand Down was welcomed by local sailors, soldiers, and Marine veterans. This was the first time Riverside County Department of Child Support Services (Riverside County DCSS) and San Bernardino County Department of Child Support Services (San Bernardino County DCSS) partnered with one another to help address the needs of veterans. Though the event was held in Riverside County, San Bernardino County DCSS joined efforts to ensure any veteran who needed assistance with their child support case would be able to talk to caseworkers from either county to ensure their needs were met. Collectively, over 40 military veterans received services from both Riverside and San Bernardino County DCSS that day.
Reaching New Heights Foundation (RNHF) organized the Stand Down 2019 event, which focused on bringing awareness of local, state, and federal services to active and former military veterans who may be entitled to receive them. The awareness goal was chosen in hopes of “Serving Those Who Served,” creating a “one-stop” resource center for all the attending veterans’ needs. Not only were they provided with information, but they were able to get help on site: medical and dental screenings were offered, as well as housing, counseling, legal services, employment, educational, and credit counseling. Along with the two county child support agencies, local resources in attendance included the Riverside University Health System, California Department of Motor Vehicles, and Riverside County Department of Veterans’ Services, housing services, and many more. This year’s Stand Down attendance marked an increase of over 20% compared to 2018’s event – veterans are receiving the help they need and sharing this information with other veterans.
This was one of the first partnerships between Riverside County DCSS and San Bernardino County DCSS to support veterans, but it will not be the last.