The Madeleine School fifth-graders display wreaths they created out of old school uniforms. The wreaths were created in honor of Veterans Day for formerly homeless vets. (Courtesy The Madeleine School)
The Madeleine School fifth-graders display wreaths they created out of old school uniforms. The wreaths were created in honor of Veterans Day for formerly homeless vets. (Courtesy The Madeleine School)
Homelessness is a pressing issue across the country. And when it’s a veteran who is homeless, the issue is that much more heartbreaking. So, when Kris Thompson, a mom of two students at The Madeleine School in Northeast Portland learned about the Veterans Community Project (VCP), she sprang into action and invited the school’s fifth-graders to support veterans by cutting up their old uniforms.

That’s right. The Madeleine’s fifth-graders cut up old uniforms and used the fabric scraps to make Veterans Day wreaths for 17 formerly homeless veterans in Kansas City, Missouri. The veterans are newly established in tiny homes in Veterans’ Village, which is run by VCP. The nonprofit was created by a former U.S. Army corporal who found that many homeless veterans avoid traditional shelters because they can be unsafe or lack privacy. When he learned about tiny homes, he realized a cluster of them for vets made sense.

Thanks to close coordination between Thompson and VCP, every veteran living in Veterans’ Village had Madeleine wreaths on their front door to welcome them home on Veterans Day.

“The students had a very hands-on experience with this service project,” said Mary Hoglund, fifth-grade teacher at The Madeleine. “After watching a video about VCP and the veterans living in the tiny homes, the students were very motivated because they knew exactly where the wreaths were going.”

Hoglund added that the students have a good understanding of issues surrounding homelessness since the school community makes lunches each week for the homeless in downtown Portland.

VCP now operates in Nashville, Tennessee, as well as Kansas City, with the goal of being in every major city in the future. Learn more about the project at veteranscommunityproject.org.