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Clothing bank for veterans reopens at VFW

NATCHEZ ­— Home With Heroes president G. Mark LaFrancis said it was a sad day as the Natchez Veterans of Foreign Wars Post closed its doors to veterans and their loved ones on March 11, 2020, due to COVID-19.

Over a year later, the clothing bank and memorabilia room were re-opened to veterans and their loved ones Thursday, LaFrancis said.

The clothing bank at 317 Seargent S.  Prentiss Drive will be open Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to noon each week.

Earlier this week in the VFW building, two veterans swapped their stories for the first time in a year about their time in the service, how they got to Natchez and the personal impact of Hurricane Katrina. LaFrancis said he looked forward to this moment.

“It feels great. To know the individuals, they can come to meet us and get free clothing,” LaFrancis said. “To hear the volunteers have a good time talking. It is just so exhilarating. I looked forward to this day for more than a year.”

Everything is free to veterans and their loved ones. He said the clothing bank is full of coats, pants, shirts, hats, socks, and shoes, and there are items for women.

While the physical location of the post was closed, Home With Heroes did not stop their mission during COVID. He said veterans could call and set up an appointment with him if they needed any clothing over the last year.

Home With Heroes also received an overflow of donations. Their spare bathroom, closet and attic are full of donated goods. He said when you ask God for something, he usually responds with abundance.

In the memorabilia room is a collection of GI Joes on display, a newspaper clipping telling Mary the Welder’s story, she is from Natchez, and a model of an aircraft carrier. Badges, model airplanes, hats, and uniforms are also on display.

Computers in the memorabilia room give veterans access to VA.Gov, he said. It is an Internet bible for service veterans, where they can request and download forms.

“We prepared. We had volunteers come and clean, sanitize, and organize, so when folks they would see something special,” LaFrancis said. “This is really special. There is nothing like it around.”

There will still be COVID restrictions in place and there is a limit of one or two visitors at a time, LaFrancis said.

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