‘They have a family’: Nonprofit Inspire Up aims to help veterans, active military struggling with mental health

Volunteers filled 500 boxes filled with books, gratitude journals, coffee for Air Force Wounded Warriors

‘They have a family’: Nonprofit Inspire Up aims to help veterans, active military struggling with mental health
‘They have a family’: Nonprofit Inspire Up aims to help veterans, active military struggling with mental health

SAN ANTONIO – The COVID-19 pandemic led to a domino effect that had a negative impact on our nation’s heroes. As the world shut down last year, so did the number of resources for veterans.

Jessica Manfre is the Chief Financial Officer and co-founder of Inspire Up, a nonprofit that serves military and families of first responders.

“These veterans and some of them active were already struggling and then you suddenly put them in isolation. They can’t go to groups, they can’t see their counselor in person,” Manfre said.

Volunteers with the organization came together at the Green Beret Foundation last week. Roughly 500 boxes were filled with books, gratitude journals and coffee.

Manfre said they wanted to let veterans and active duty military know they are not alone.

“I hope that when the airmen receive this that they recognize that they have a family,” she said.

The boxes were sent to Air Force Wounded Warriors, which helps service members transition back into civilian life.

However, making the transition can be challenging for service members.

The organization reported five suicides in 2020 but that was a smaller number compared to 2019. Candice Escobedo, of AWF2, believes it’s a heartbreaking reality.

“The people in our program. People are sick. People are ill and they do die, so it’s hard on everybody,” she said

But Escobedo said generosity can go a long way toward making a difference in the lives of the men and women who serve to protect.

“Here is a physical tangible thing that we can send you to. Get you to maybe possibly open up and talk to us and work with us,” Escobedo said.

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