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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Pandemic causes Alpha Omega Veterans Services to switch gears

“Our staff have doubled their workload because now we’re transporting food three times a day to clients," said Cordell Walker.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — All day long, Local 24 News is honoring veterans - those who have protected and sacrificed for our country. 

Veterans are one of the hardest hit populations when it comes to homelessness and physical and mental health. 

Since the 1980s, Alpha Omega Veterans Services has stepped in to meet the needs. 

Local 24 News Reporter Brittani Moncrease spoke to the organization about how the pandemic has impacted operations. 

Alpha Omega Veterans Services has helped more than 11,000 homeless and disabled military veterans successfully transition back into society. 

Just because we're in the midst of a pandemic, it does not mean the effort stops. 

Their staffing has been short with a need ever great. 

Alpha Omega Veterans Services has one mission and that is to help homeless and disabled veterans. 

“We basically provide food, shelter, clothing, and all of the rehabilitative services necessary to get our clients back on their feet,” said Cordell Walker, Alpha Omega Veterans Services Executive Director.  

During the pandemic, staff quickly had to switch gears. 

“Our staff have doubled their workload because now we’re transporting food three times a day to clients, making sure that their getting to their meetings, their hospital appointments,” said Walker.

They also have to continue to follow social distancing guidelines.  

“We’ve had to extend it to hotels around the area,” said Walker. “We do not travel in groups anymore. If anyone needs to be transported, it’s just one or two individuals at the time.”  

They even have to be cautious about donations. 

“We do not accept a lot of the outside donations that we have in the past to make sure that we don’t bring in the virus,” said Walker. “We’ve had very few to any viruses that have broken out here at Alpha Omega.” 

They want to keep it that way. 

With winter shuffling in and COVID cases rising, the need has grown.

“We’re always in need of having masks, gloves and support,” said Walker. 

Especially on Veterans Day, it is a reminder to be a keeper to those who kept us. 

“Our veterans are on watch every minute of every day, of every hour, of every month of every year to protect and safeguard our freedoms and liberties,” said Walker. “The life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that we’ve been able to indulge in is because of our veteran population.” 

Local 24 News celebrates veterans both past and present. We honor you and we thank you.

The 'Safer at Home' Executive Order was issued by Mayor Jim Strickland for the City of Memphis which begins at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. This order identifies "Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals" like Alpha Omega as Essential Businesses.