Pictured: Griselle Hahn, customer service assistant, and her son helped to sort clothing and other items for the veterans.

El Shaddai Bethlehem Ministries opened its doors, and PPL volunteers opened their hearts to help homeless veterans earlier this month.

About 40 homeless veterans – both men and women – benefited from a hot meal, free clothing and personal items, blankets, free health checks and other services. Members of the company’s PPLVETS employee group took part in El Shaddai’s monthly outreach event in Bethlehem.

“Homelessness is a real problem, and a large number of people who are homeless now once served in our military. Their reasons for living on the streets vary, ranging from mental illness, inability to fit back into society or a strong dependency on drugs and alcohol,” said Anthony Pearson, IT business systems analyst and president of PPLVETS. “Showing up and helping homeless veterans for a few hours is a small investment of time and effort with a huge return.”

PPL volunteers and community members brought canned foods, hygiene products, socks and other items for the veterans to select from. Griselle Hahn, customer service assistant, and her son pitched in to help sort and organize items and spent time speaking with veterans over a hot meal.

“Normally about 80 veterans turn out for this event, but due to the extreme cold many were asked to shelter in place at various churches,” said Dennis Knepper, regional director of operations for PPL Electric Utilities’ Central and Susquehanna regions, and executive sponsor of PPLVETS. “Those who came appeared to be very grateful for the items they selected, such as socks, blankets, clothes, soap and boots. The atmosphere was not somber or pitiful. There was no judgment. It was a very dignified gathering.”

“PPLVETS feels strongly about helping not only our employees, but also helping people in the communities where we live and do business,” added Pearson.