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Animal rescue holds donation drive for Cincinnati veterans

Published: Nov. 28, 2021 at 10:01 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 29, 2021 at 3:43 AM EST

CINCINNATI (WXIX) - In hopes of lending a hand this holiday season, a Cincinnati animal rescue is hosting a donation drive for veterans.

Volunteers with HART Cincinnati are used to rescuing animals, as they save thousands of cats and dogs every year, but this winter, they have launched a charity drive focused on humans, called “HART Honoring Heroes.”

Through it, the organization is collecting donations for veterans who live at the Cincinnati VA’s Community Living Center.

HART Intake Coordinator Katie Goodpaster described it as an inpatient facility where those who have served our country receive nursing home level care in a residential setting.

“There are 40 units, a mix of male and female veterans in this particular unit, and we decided to honor them this year,” Goodpaster said. “We want to let them know that they’re not forgotten and they’re loved.”

HART started an Amazon wish list for them, and Goodpaster said they have collected more than 100 items so far.

“What we want to do is give each one of the residents their own personal gift bag,” she said. “They’ve got a cooking group and a gardening group, and the coordinators gave us ideas of items we could put on the wish list.”

On top of that, they are accepting gift cards that residents can use when they visit restaurants, and they are using snail mail to spread some Christmas cheer.

“We’re also asking for Christmas cards,” Goodpaster said. “The coordinator said that the veterans absolutely enjoy receiving mail and Christmas cards.”

It is something Goodpaster says they are now planning to do annually as part of a broader program called “HART Helping Humans.”

“Each year, we plan on selecting a different group or community that we are going to assist with, and we’ll have a separate name for it under the ‘HART Helping Humans’ blanket,’” Goodpaster said.

For Goodpaster, it is not only important to help animals in need, it is also the right move to continue to pay it forward.

“HART has received a lot of support from the community, and we felt that it was time to give back. Without the veterans and their sacrifices, we wouldn’t be able to do the work that we’ve been able to do the past 17 years,” she said.

The deadline to donate to the drive is Dec. 10. After that, the gift bags will be delivered to the VA residents.

Goodpaster said they are still in need of 30 neck pouches, 24 ball caps and 15 plastic storage baskets. Those interested in helping can donate through the Amazon wish list.

Holiday or gift cards can be mailed to Katie Goodpaster (HART) at 797 Canute Court, Maineville, Ohio 45039.

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