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Honoring Our Veteran Neighbors

Updated: Apr 26

Our communities are made better thanks to veterans. As we honor our veterans this year, we are also reminded that veterans often have a variety of needs as they transition back to civilian life that require both physical and mental health support.

Every community has Veteran-owned businesses and organizations dedicated to supporting veterans. One of the best ways to honor those who served and continue to serve our nation, is to become aware of the organizations local to your community and show your support of those affected by service. Research shows that more than 50% of the money spent at local organizations stays local. When you patronize a local business or support a local veteran organization, you invest in your local communities by creating jobs, allowing more money to circulate in the local economy, and touching the lives of people and families - our neighbors who have served.

At Curio412, our vision is to empower people with the agency to make a positive difference in their own backyard. That’s why this Veteran’s Day, we are highlighting a few local organizations working to serve the needs of veterans in the Pittsburgh Region!

By The Wayside Coffee

Jaime and Abbey Dean started By The Wayside as a vehicle to connect and support members of the military community and to help bridge the military/civilian gap over a great cup of coffee. 10% of profits are shared with their mission partners including: Outdoor Immersion, Yellow Ribbon Girls, Community Care for Military at Memorial Park Church, and Fleece Connection.

Wherever possible, By The Wayside sources their materials from veteran-owned businesses. They also create awareness of individuals in our community who have served and are on active duty. through their Roll Call board, which can be signed by patrons in honor or memory of a veteran or active military member. In conjunction with their coffee business, they also work with Operation Strong Mind, to raise funds that will build a coffee truck that can be given to a veteran to operate his own business.

The “beauty of mobility” of their coffee truck is inspired by the military's character - a rapid response and ability to adapt in ever-changing circumstances. While their truck takes them on the road, they have regular operating hours at the Block at Northway (upper level, south corridor) Tuesdays-Fridays 10am-2pm. Military and first responders receive free regular coffee and 50% off specialty drinks.

Established as a 501c3 in 2015, Outdoor Immersion is a community care mission focused on renewing veteran resilience using outdoor activities to create connections of friendship, moving them from isolation to community and rebuilding resilience physically, mentally and spiritually. Their purpose is to bridge gaps of relationship, duty and service between the Veteran and Civilian cultures and create beneficial life habits that rebuild and reinforce foundations of resilience. In 2016, Outdoor Immersion was invited to bring their mission to the Beaver County Veteran Treatment Court. The program continues to be a success and has expanded to Mercer and Washington Counties. Recently, Outdoor Immersion was invited to take their mission beyond the Western Pennsylvania region and into the Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, where they will support veterans receiving treatment for trauma.

Outdoor Immersion founder, Jim Skal, is enthusiastic about sharing his love for teaching, fitness, and the outdoors and describes their organization as relational-based, with a commitment to walk with veterans through whatever they need, fulfilling a duty to help shoulder the burdens veterans carry and be sure their vital needs are met. The organization is currently moving into a period of growth in order to expand their capacity to serve.

On average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day. Launched in March of 2023, Restore 22 aims to reduce the number of veteran suicides per day by fostering an environment that gives veterans the opportunity to talk about their experiences. The organization’s vision is to build a coffee shop where strangers become friends, where hurts are healed and where faith is restored. In the coffee shop, Restore 22 intends to provide a place where veterans and their loved ones can come for their daily coffee as well as a place where the public can come to interact with and learn from veterans. Partnerships with nearby VFWs, American Legions, and other veteran-serving organizations would allow Restore 22 to fill areas of much needed support. The shop would also be a center for resources for everything from mental health to financial planning and employment.

While Restore 22 works to raise funds to build their coffee shop in Coraopolis, their mission works through two monthly coffee gatherings and their Military Mindful Movement Moment classes (also known as the “4M” program). They also recently launched their Coffee Roadshow podcast. During the month of November they will record at Friendship Perk & Brew, a veteran-owned coffee shop serving the Friendship and Bloomfield areas of Pittsburgh.

Know more local organizations serving veterans? Reach out and let us know!

Curio412 is a consultancy for businesses and nonprofits who want to improve their bottom line, build relationships, and scale meaningful impact. We believe in creating lasting impact. Which is why we share knowledge and tell stories to keep nonprofits, business, social enterprises, and charitable organizations informed about current trends, ideas, and impact.

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