Lee County veteran organization hopes for helping hand

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A Lee County organization that serves homeless and low income veterans is hoping to open a warehouse to continue its service on a larger scale.

Hearts & Homes for Veterans Inc purchased the building at 2230 Alicia Street in Fort Myers in 2015. The organization’s president, Don Payton, said the building will house Hearts & Homes’ food pantry, an office with computers and an inventory of furniture and other house items. Hearts & Homes will also offer medical and dental services out of the warehouse.

But Tom Donoghue of Hearts & Homes said the parking lot needs repaving before the building can open.

Some veterans said their lives have already been changed by the work Hearts & Homes does.

“When I first got my apartment, all I had was a bed. Hearts & Homes helped furnish my whole apartment,” veteran Darrell Harris said. “I needed dental work. They did about $25,000 worth of dental work for free.”

Roger Underwood, a veteran of the Iraq War, said Payton and Hearts & Homes inspired him to have hope.

“When I first got down here I had no hope or motivation. I was lost. I didn’t know where to go. They have helped with food, if we needed food, filled my tank up. The guy has been very generous,” he said.

Hearts & Homes is also looking for dentists and other medical professionals who are willing to donate their services.

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