AYER — Seven years ago, Phyllis Reynolds started a holiday clothing drive with the Ayer Gun Club to benefit homeless veterans. Over the years, the drive has grown immensely and during their recent 2015 collection, the club donated a variety of items including clothing, fleece blankets, and over 200 pounds of food to Veterans Inc., a nonprofit support services group for veterans and their families residing in New England.
A majority of the gun club members are veterans and the club is a key player in donating goods to Veterans Inc. year after year. During this year’s drive, Reynolds and her co-chair, Sue Maxwell, made a point to donate clothing that veterans could wear for job interviews.
“A lot of these guys don’t have a lot of money but they need nice clothing for when they go on interviews,” Reynolds said.
The club collected new and gently used clothing that can be donated to veterans for interviews and everyday wear, including t-shirts and underwear. Food was also collected.
“We have a huge walk-in freezer and refrigerator at the club so we stored multiple hams and turkeys in there and donated them,” Reynolds said.
Among the donations were also 30 pounds of carrots, 100 pounds of potatoes, and a variety of canned goods.
“We filled up our whole van with goods and it was sitting low to the ground with all the product in it by the time we were done,” Reynolds said.
The club has already begun thinking about their 2017 drive and plans to market for the event earlier to collected even more products.
“It’s important to remember that these guys do not chose to be homeless,” Reynolds said. “They may not be able to fit into society like an every day person but they want to have a home.”