Working in the Dark: Vets Helping Vets is in Financial Trouble
A local organization that helps Alaska’s veterans with a variety of resources is struggling to keep its doors open.
Vets Helping Vets opened its doors two years ago. Lately, it hasn’t been receiving enough donations to pay its employees, rent, and even bills. As a result, the lights were shut off several days ago.
The organization was unable to come up with $1,300 for the electric deposit and has been working in the dark for the last week until it can raise enough money to get the lights turned back on.
“We don’t have electricity on, but we refuse to lie down and die. We still fight through,” said Calista Anderson, the group’s president.
She believes donations are down because of its reputation. Last year, its founder, Jerry Butler, was accused of embezzling most of the organization’s money and later left.
But Anderson is working to improve its image.
“Money is being managed well. That’s why we say anyone can come in and check it out,” she said.
The organization continues to feed nearly 20 homeless veterans each night, even without the lights or heat in the building.
The main cook, Marcus Coval, a Navy veteran, says he’ll continue cooking so that veterans can have a little light in their lives.
The group says it’s also considering changing its name and even potentially moving to another building if the situation doesn’t improve.