Every Third Saturday began in 2010 after a single comment as we were finishing up a pick-up of quilts from a small church in Wisconsin. As we were preparing to head back to the Twin Cities, the subject of homeless veterans came up, seemingly in passing conversation. A woman at the church, Deb Marrier, asked if I had said “homeless veterans” as her eyes became glassy. I replied “yes”, and explained that for the past few years we had been purchasing supplies on a small scale and driving around the Twin Cities to give the supplies to homeless veterans. Deb then described that she had been discussing homeless vets with her husband, Scott, and the rest of their family for a month now. They wanted to help address the problem but just didn’t know how to begin. The Marriers wanted to take concrete steps to help out veterans who were living in cars, under bridges, in the woods, and anywhere else they can stay safe, warm, and dry. Although none of us realized it at the time, Every Third Saturday had been born.
Over the past six years, the Marrier’s non-profit, The Hands Foundation, has been the driving force behind an effort that has had a major impact on the lives of homeless veteran trying to survive in the harsh Minnesota weather. The collection and distribution of over 45,000 items has helped hundreds of veterans, with everything from blankets being used in VA hospitals to homemade bags that makes carrying your whole life on your back just a little easier. The donations collected by the Hands Foundation, and delivered to the Twin Cities, have made it all possible.
Every Third Saturday simply would not exist without the Hands Foundation. Cooperation with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs has sprung out of the consistent availability of supplies and volunteers. We are now able to get VA assistance in communicating with veterans on a much larger scale, and we are now welcome to serve veterans on VA property, which we do on the third Saturday of each month.
The effort of The Hands Foundation, and the Marrier family, has made an immeasurable difference in our ability to serve homeless vets in the Twin Cities. Even better, we have become true friends, which make us even more effective in our service to others. Every Third Saturday will always be indebted to the Marrier family for their generosity and the energy they bring to everything they do. We look forward to many more years of service with them as Every Third Saturday becomes an organization of its own, and expands to begin offering assistance to veterans who have struggled since leaving service, and their families, in areas such as employment, finances, relationships, health, and faith.
Faith is the keystone to everything done at Every Third Saturday and will always be our bedrock. Modern medicine can treat the physical injuries a vet sustains in service, psychiatry can assist with the emotional difficulties, such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety, but we believe that the wounds to the soul many veterans struggle with cannot be healed without divine intervention and a belief that we are all here for a purpose.
Every Third Saturday will walk alongside veterans and their families as purpose is discovered, a passion for service is found within that purpose, and post service growth can begin. We believe there is no better medicine than being in community with other veterans and their families, rediscovering purpose, and serving a cause which is greater than ourselves.