Veterans overcome homelessness, hunger, and unemployment thanks to service center

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. (WPVI) -- "I walked in the door and it changed my life," said Jim Davie.

The U.S. Marine Corps veteran has one of many success stories from the Veterans Multi-Service Center, or the VMC, which serves homeless, hungry and unemployed vets in seven locations across the tri-state area.

"It got me into a vocational rehabilitation program where I was able to start my own construction company," Davie said. "And I'm able to give back and actually help other veterans get into the trades and get into any area where they need help."

Like Davie, Charmaine Ijeoma is another beneficiary-turned-benefactor.

"I was there, I ended up homeless," she said, referring to the economic crisis of 2007-2008.

"I lost my job and VMC helped me," said Ijeoma, a U.S. Navy Veteran.

Today, she is a Veterans Service Officer at the Montgomery County Office of Veterans Affairs.

"You don't have to feel ashamed," Ijeoma said, addressing fellow veterans. "You served your country. Let your country serve you."

The Veterans Multi-Service Center has succeeded in that service despite the COVID-19 pandemic. At one Philadelphia location, they are serving more than 400 weekly meals. Additionally, they have provided the equivalent of nearly 18,000 hotel stays to homeless veterans.

"Many of our veterans went from being able to provide themselves to nothing," said Joe Brooks, Executive Director of the VMC. "It's incumbent upon those of us that have not served to look after our veterans in their time of need."

The VMC is one of the many resources in the Philadelphia area for those who have served. The sixth annual Philadelphia Veterans Parade aims to promote such services with its virtual event this weekend. It will be broadcasted this Sunday, November 8th, at 12:30pm on 6abc Action News.

To learn more about the VMC and how you can help, visit their website.

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"It's more about veterans helping veterans because a lot of us have figured out a way to get there," said Steve Phillabaum.

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