With fundraising efforts posing a challenge during the coronavirus pandemic, local organizations have been creative in raising funds for their causes. Veterans Village of San Diego, which is dedicated to serving those who served the country, is no different and its organizers are embarking on a pretty unique journey to benefit their clients.
A small group of volunteers and veterans will participate in a 50-mile kayaking expedition from San Pedro to Catalina Island to raise $100,000 and show support for veterans during a time when communication with one another can be difficult.
Six kayaks, one for each branch of service, will embark on this journey. Participants will be making several stops at historic military sites along the way.
“This expedition really sort of mirrors the challenges that they face and so it’s really easy to write a check but to actually go out there and kayak across open ocean to show our support for our former service members," said Akilah Templeton, President and CEO of Veteran Village of San Diego. "That goes a long way as well. It shows we care, we support you and we recognize how rough the road has been for you."
Veteran Duncan Smith, who served as a Navy SEAL, spent a lot of time planning the unique event.
“It's going to be a test in a lot of ways," Smith told NBC 7. "One of those ways is your strength and your kayaking competency, but also, we’ve got to be very careful that all the paddlers on this trip are fueling their bodies, are getting rest when possible, are hydrating. And we’re also going to navigate the most effective and efficient path we can."
The expedition is scheduled to wrap up on Friday. Supporters can follow the participants' journey here.
Veterans Village of San Diego has been doing amazing things for veterans for nearly 40 years.
The non-profit organization offers a wide variety of services that includes housing to case management, mental health services, financial assistance and substance abuse services.
Critical services and engagement are still needed, especially in a pandemic.
To donate to the organization and learn more about its services, click here.