Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary Club helps homeless vets at Stand Down San Diego

Members of the Del Mar–Solana Beach Rotary Club handed out over 6,000 bottles of cool water to hot and thirsty veterans (and volunteers) at Stand Down San Diego 2011 on July 15 - 17. Thirty-five Rotarians, spouses, and friends stood three-hour shifts to man the “Rotary Water Tent” during the three-day event. Many vets and volunteers who frequented the Water Tent said that the chilled bottles of water were what kept them going throughout the long, hot days. The water was donated by NIKA Water and Harrah’s Rincon Casino with delivery assistance from Eckert’s Moving & Storage.

Stand Down is an annual intervention and support event specifically for homeless veterans. It is held in a temporary tent city set up on the athletic fields of San Diego High School. It was started in San Diego in 1988 by the Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) and continues through VVSD’s efforts and assistance from the Veterans Administration and many other organizations. Following the VVSD’s model, over 200 cities around the U.S. hold annual Stand Downs for their homeless and needy vets.

This year’s turnout showed 1,003 homeless veterans attended the event – a new record and 3,600 volunteers helped — also a record. 13,500 meals were served from Friday morning through Sunday evening and Stand Down 2011 cost $1 million to put on, of which $200,000 was in cash and the rest was donations of time and supplies by San Diego Military commands.

While the veterans and their dependents generally stayed at Stand Down over the three days, volunteers came in shifts to set up and break down the facilities and assist the veterans. They provided meals and coffee throughout the day, picture IDs, and sleeping tents for rest and relaxation. They stocked and manned the clothing tent, showers, barber shop, and stations for medical, dental, and vision assistance and for acupuncture and massage therapy. They provided help through the homeless court, counseling, chaplain services, 12-step meetings, and information about Veterans benefits, employment and job counseling services, recovery providers and shelters.

For information about Stand Down San Diego, contact Darcy Pavich, Chaplain/Stand Down Coordinator, Veterans Village of San Diego, 619-497-0142,

The Del Mar–Solana Beach Rotary Club is a service club of business, professional, and volunteer leaders who belong to the 1.2-million-member Rotary International.

The club meets at the Doubletree Hotel in Carmel Valley Friday mornings from 7:15 to 8:30 a.m. For more information about the Del Mar-Solana Beach Rotary Club, please contact President Kirk Collins at 619-254-8234 or go to