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(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana House members are gathering food and toiletries for homeless veterans.

It’s the ninth straight year Republicans and Democrats have teamed up to lead a donation drive for a Hoosier charity. This year, it’s the American Legion’s Legacy Foundation, which works with veterans to make sure they know and apply for the benefits they’re entitled to. 

Legislators hope to collect enough hygiene items and nonperishable food to assemble 500 care packages for distribution next month.

Indiana adjutant John Crosby says the kits themselves are less important than the opportunity to connect veterans with the Legion to get them the long-term services they need.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development says Indiana has nearly 600 homeless vets. That’s about one of every seven homeless Hoosiers.

Donations can be dropped off at Legion posts or at two statehouse collection points.

House Speaker Brian Bosma (second from right) and Minority Leader Phil GiaQuinta (left) join veterans to announce the House charity drive (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)