Operation Chillout - FOX 13 News

Operation Chillout

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Elizabeth, New Jersey (MY9NJ) - Operation Chillout is an organization that helps homeless veterans throughout New Jersey stay warm in the winter. The organization was started in 2000 after the coordinator, Ray Chimileski, found a group of veterans living next to a railroad in Northern New Jersey. Ray felt like this was a disgrace to our country that these men who fought so bravely for our freedoms are left to fend for themselves out on the street.

Ray explained that the organization hands out survival backpacks to the vets living on the streets in order to help them better handle the cold weather. “The backpack is anything that you or I would need on a cold day. We have a flannel hooded shirt, long johns, travel size deodorant, shampoo, comb and brush,” he said.

While this is a measure that is taken after the fact, the organization also feels like something needs to be done for these vets before they find themselves in this situation.

“On average 1 out of 5 is a homeless vet,” Chimileski said.

Linda Flores-Tober works with another organization, Operation Warm Heart, which helps homeless people from all walks of life. She says it breaks her heart that veterans are often forgotten.

“It is an embarrassment that our veterans have to ask for anything. They should not have to beg in front of a ShopRite or ask for housing, they should get it. They sacrificed their lives for us,” she said.

New Jersey ranks 42 out of 50 in terms of individual charitable giving and there is a real need to reach out and do what you can to help those in need, especially during this time of the year.


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