For the third consecutive year, WCCO partnered with the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MACV) and the Minnesota Twins to raise awareness towards permanently ending veteran homelessness in Minnesota.
Through the Home for the Holidays campaign, WCCO brought attention to the challenges that veterans face when returning home from duty and the dedicated work MACV does in assisting them across the state.
In addition to news coverage and promotional support, WCCO created three tangible ways viewers, staff and corporate partners could support MACV. The active engagements included a Community Tree, fundraising phone banks and a Holiday StandDown at Target Field.
WCCO created the Community Tree as a way to spread holiday cheer to veterans living in one of MACV’s transitional homes. A sixteen-foot Christmas tree was raised outside of WCCO’s downtown studio for viewers to hang their ornaments. Over 200 ornaments were donated by viewers and partners from across the state. With enough ornaments to adorn three Christmas trees, the trees were delivered to three transitional homes in time for Christmas.
WCCO hosted two phone banks for viewers to donate to MACV. Not only did the effort exceed $379,698 in donations, but it also served as an entry point for homeless veterans to call and seek help.
The Minnesota Twins contributed their full support by hosting a Holiday Stand Down at Target Field. Over 362 veterans attended the event where they had access to 40 service provides that provided resources such as free haircuts, dental care, legal support and much more. This year, WCCO & MACV brought in local landlords and employers in hopes of veterans leaving the event with a new job and/or a place to live. At the end of the event, 26 veterans filled out job applications and 20 left with provisional housing.
In addition to receiving vital resources, everyone enjoyed a holiday meal provided by Delaware North Catering. Former Minnesota Twins player, Justin Morneau, was in attendance to meet and encourage the veterans.
Prior to the meal, WCCO’s Mid-Morning show broadcast live from Target Field and dedicated the one-hour show to sharing veteran’s stories and the work of MACV.
Overall, the Holiday StandDown would not have been possible without the numerous staff and corporate partners who volunteered their time. On top of volunteering, many partners went beyond by donating essential items that were used in care packages given to the veterans at the conclusion of the StandDown. The care packages included pillows, hygiene kits, nutritious snacks and winter gear.
Through the Home for the Holidays campaign WCCO, MACV and the Minnesota Twins have made meaningful progress in ending veteran homelessness in Minnesota and are helping to bring our veterans Home for the Holidays.