NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Lowcountry military veterans and others took part in a charity motorcycle ride to raise awareness for veteran homelessness and struggling veterans.
The 8th annual Undy 500 Ride, hosted by Palmetto Goodwill, is a self-guided motorcycle ride that covers nearly 100 miles of the Tri-County area. Riders were asked to donate an unopened package of underwear, socks, or tshirts to distribute at the upcoming Stand Down Against Homelessness event.
"The homeless individuals need undergarments to continue to transition," said Jermaine Husser, Vice President of Mission Services, Palmetto Goodwill. "We want our veterans to know that we support them and we want to be there for them."
"It's a great thing that they're doing," said David Miller, an Air Force veteran. "It's such a sad thing that veterans have to be homeless."
More than 50 bikers gathered at the Lowcountry Harley-Davidson shop on Dorchester Road for the kick off, alongside Palmetto Warrior Connection.
"What we found out is most of our bikers are veterans who have transitioned in our community and fought for our country," Husser said.
The ride also looks to combat the suicide rate among veterans, provide funding for suicide prevention, and create proactive programs to address homeless veterans.
Husser said veterans are getting younger these days, and dealing with more of the struggles.
"They come back different," he said. "We're trying to meet the needs of where they are. Trying to build a team and community around them, to make them feel supported. Just to build that hope and purpose back into them."
Palmetto Warrior Connection has helped close to 100 veterans in the past year, housing 80. Husser said there are close to 300 homeless veterans in the community and are looking at providing help for them.