Salutes: A Place for Veterans in Need
Fri, 06/05/2020 - 11:30am admin
A newly-opened nonprofit is helping veterans in West Plains. Salutes is located on South Highway 63 just outside the city limits and is part thrift-store, meal kitchen, and shelter. It has only been open for a couple weeks, but more than half a dozen homeless veterans have found shelter there.
Though now retired, founder Toni Wineinger’s career was in the hospitality industry. She says she would see veterans coming into hotels hoping for a place to stay who had to be turned away. Seeing this need was her inspiration, but her hospitality experience is what made the project a reality. To her, the problem of local veterans in need is painfully obvious.
“They’re everywhere! They’re at Walmart holding up signs saying ‘I’m hungry. Feed me,” Wineinger said.
Organizers say they opened early “by need.” United Way and Ozark Action, Inc. approached Wineinger about certain individuals in need of shelter.
At Salutes, there are ten rooms for female veterans and ten rooms for men that ring the perimeter of the space. The rooms each have a bed, dresser, easy chair, and lamps. Veterans may stay as long as they need.
Though the “price is right,” residents must adhere to certain rules to stay at Salutes. There is a 9:00 p.m. curfew. Doors are locked afterwards, and no one is allowed in or out.
Residents have access to a shared kitchen and bathrooms and newly-installed showers. A recreation room is currently in the works that will eventually feature card tables, ping pong, games, and possibly a pool table.
The shelter is funded by donations and by sales from the thrift store. Salutes is a 501(c)(3), and monetary donations are both welcome and tax-deductible. The shelter is now in the space formerly located in a call center, so organizers have a room full of the cubicle materials they say are available for sale or trade.
Veterans in need can contact Salutes by phone at (417) 861-6967 to begin the intake procedure for placement. Follow Salutes on Facebook for announcements about donations needed and other updates.