“We aren’t going to let our veterans go without.”
That is the mission of Three Hots and A Cot, summed up by Richard Cislak, co-founder and chief financial officer. The nonprofit was formed in February 2009 by a group of veterans to help fellow veterans in Jefferson County, Alabama, get a second chance at life.
Veterans in need are referred to Three Hots, as it is commonly known, by the Birmingham Veterans Affairs Office because they are homeless, battling some form of addiction, or having family or legal problems. Through a short-term stay at one of the nonprofit’s two centers or five independent living houses, Three Hots helps veterans by providing access to necessary services and support, placing them on a path toward successful, independent living.
“Veterans come to us from the streets, and we use this house to show them there is a better life out there for them. We aim to make this house feel like a home while veterans are here,” said Cislak.
During November, Three Hots participated in Regions’ annual What a Difference a Day Makes grant award program. This year, the program focused on nonprofits devoted to military veterans and active-duty service members. Regions shared the stories of several nonprofits across the Southeast and Midwest on the company’s news website, regions.doingmoretoday.com, as well as through the bank’s social media. Visitors to the site could learn about each nonprofit in the campaign and vote for their favorite organization once per day.
When the votes were tallied on Nov. 30, Three Hots received more than any other nonprofit in the program, collecting over 32,000 votes. Regions presented a $5,000 check to Three Hots in early December for the nonprofit to continue needed updates at its main center on Old Springville Road in Center Point.
The Center Point facility can house up to 19 veterans, including both men and women. Three Hots is one of only two nonprofits in the area to serve women veterans. Cislak is certain the renovations will help the nonprofit support even more veterans in the future.
“Our waiting list is long, and it continues to grow,” he added. According to Three Hots, 800 of the nearly 3,000 homeless people in the city of Birmingham are veterans.
In addition to the financial support, Regions is also providing the nonprofit 100 hours of volunteer service from Regions associates in 2019. Associates will have an opportunity to mentor veterans, show them they are loved and help with financial education.
“Many of our veterans receive various types financial assistance while they are here, and, sometimes, within weeks of receiving the funds, veterans have no financial means left,” Cislak said. “Regions associates have a wide array of knowledge and experience in terms of providing financial education. Sharing this knowledge through volunteering and working with our veterans can make a huge difference in helping these veterans become independent again.”
“Regions is proud to support Three Hots and a Cot with financial assistance and volunteer service for the nonprofit to continue to meet its mission,” said Alan Register, Birmingham Market Executive for Regions. “Veterans have honorably served our country, so anything we can do to help them through a difficult time is an obligation we all have. We appreciate everyone in the Birmingham area and beyond who voted daily in the What a Difference a Day Makes campaign to help us make a real difference in the lives of veterans.”
What a Difference a Day Makes will continue to have an impact on Three Hots and the veterans it serves long after the 2018 campaign has ended. In addition, Cislak says greater public awareness generated by a company like Regions provides real hope for veterans.
“Thanks to Regions, our veterans have been shown that the community really cares for them,” concluded Cislak.