CI Hero: Peoria man uses nutritious food to help homeless veterans feel comforts of home

CI Heroes

PEORIA, Ill.– After the service, military men and women come home to begin civilian life though many times that transition isn’t easy.

As of January 2019, Phoenix Community Development Services counted three homeless veterans in the Peoria area.

Even though that number may be small, to combat it a local organization relies on volunteers and donations to help put these men on a viable path.

This week’s CI Hero, Bill Angel, takes it upon himself to help our veterans feel the comforts of home.

In June of 2014, Veteran’s Haven opened with the goal of providing a place for area homeless veterans to call home temporarily.

“The whole idea of this program is to get these guys in, somewhere safe, off the streets,” said Kristen Berchtold, Director of Development | Phoenix Community Development Services. “Then get them the care they need and move them into other permanent housing in the community.”

A house becomes a home when people fill it with love and kindness. That’s where Bill Angel steps in.

“Always have a good Sunday meal to end the week and start the week,” said Bill Angel. “That’s what these guys need. They need food like this.”

Through pies, turkey, just plain ole good home-cookin’, Angel helps nourish these veterans’ souls with nutritious meals.

“These guys mean a lot to me and this is what I’m planning on doing until I run out of money,” said Angel. “Bottom line, these guys are number one to me.”

Local veterans like James Blair who served in the Marine Corps from 1971- ’75 say Bill makes the best meals.

“He puts on quite the spread when he brings it in,” said James “Butch” Blair, local veteran. “You couldn’t ask for anything better. We usually have food for 2-3 days pretty much and it’s really delicious.”

Bill says he doesn’t do it because he has to. He does it because he wants to. He understands PTSD. He understands needing a helping hand. As a recovering alcoholic, he’s found a saving grace in cooking. so he says, why not use it for the betterment of others?

“It’s nourishing food,” said Angel. “It’s home-made food. It’ll fill your stomach and it gives [veterans] the energy and strength they need to go about.”

“Those good home-cooked meals and extra socks and things like that are just so important to these guys and do a lot to make…put them on the road to recovery,” said Berchtold.

Veteran’s Haven is always taking donations to help these homeless veterans in need.

To nominate someone you know to be our next CI Hero, CLICK HERE.

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