Residents of the Habitat PLUS house in Lynn being served pizza from the Swampscott and Lynn DAV chapter for MLK Jr Day. (Andrea Gayle-Bennett)
Brigadier General Andrea Gayle-Bennett of the Swampscott and Lynn E.F. Gilmore Chapter 64 of Disabled American Veterans (DAV) served a meal and gave toiletries and a crocheted scarf to the residents of Habitat PLUS in Lynn on Monday in recognition of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday.
“Since … it’s a day of service one of the things that we as a chapter decided to do was to provide them with a meal and some gifts,” Gayle-Bennett said. “We gave them pizza … and some toiletries like soap because those are just some basic things that they always need and we provided that for them today.”
Habitat PLUS is an interim and transitional home for psychiatrically disabled veterans, she said, and without the house the veterans would either be homeless or in another psychiatric facility.
“The transition is to help them be more self-sufficient to move towards independent living on their own,” Gayle-Bennett said in a statement.
DAV is an organization that supports veterans to “lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity,” according to their website, dav.org.
“Throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) sets aside time to honor local veterans and thank those who served by volunteering at the VA Medical Centers, Soldier’s Homes, and Habitat PLUS,” the statement said.
On Monday, she said the residents of the house loved the gifts and the meal.
“They actually said to me, ‘you can’t keep spoiling us,’” Gayle-Bennett said.
Providing for Habitat PLUS is something the chapter does frequently.
In December, they gave the residents Christmas gifts and in the summer DAV gave them tickets for concerts, she said.
“We try to do something every month just to serve them because that’s one of the missions of the DAV and that’s veterans helping veterans, to volunteer and to serve,” Gayle-Bennett said.
Her DAV chapter decided to pair up with Habitat PLUS about a year ago because it is “not well known and they really need help,” she said.
“They certainly need funding which we can’t fund them but we can certainly try to supply some of the needs as they come up,” Gayle-Bennett said. “We just thought since they’re so close, they’re local, our chapter is Lynn and Swampscott and they’re right here, why not help the people who are right here in our backyard?”