Tagged: Brian Stepp Cleveland

Brian Stepp of Veterans Serving Veterans Discusses Items Often Overlooked for Donations

Brian Stepp

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread financial hardship that continues to affect many American families some 18 months later. However, despite the global pandemic, charitable giving has continued to grow for the eighth consecutive year. Brian Stepp, co-founder of the veteran non-profit Veterans Serving Veterans Organization, Inc., is grateful to the many Americans who continue to donate during this time and hopes to share donation tips for the families considering donating in the upcoming weeks. Within this blog, Brian Stepp will discuss the items most often overlooked during family donation selection and why these items are in high demand.

Toiletries and Hygiene Products

When coming up with a list of items to donate, many families often forget to include toiletries and hygiene products. Hygiene products are a necessity and often too expensive for families in need. Shampoo, conditioner, soaps, deodorants, towels, feminine hygiene products, toothbrushes, and toothpaste are all high priority items for many charities as they are always in demand. When buying certain items like toothpaste, Brian Stepp asks families to consider purchasing products for people with sensitive teeth, as many low-income individuals cannot afford to go to the dentist and may have special dental needs. If the item comes in different sizes, consider purchasing the smaller size for donations as families with no permanent home will find these items are easier to transport. 

Gently Used Bikes

One of the things most struggling families need is reliable transportation. Cars are quite expensive and require money for gas, repairs, inspections, and insurance. For this reason, many families rely on bikes as an inexpensive way to get to work, grocery stores, and other appointments. If you have a bike in storage that remains in relatively good condition that your family is no longer using, please consider donating it as many families could use this bike as their primary source of transportation. Additionally, if you or a loved one have an extra bike lock, this can be of great use to donation centers and charities.


According to the National Diaper Bank Network, the average baby goes through eight to twelve diapers which costs between 70-80 dollars a month or 900 per year. For widowed mothers and young families, this expense can prove quite challenging for a tight budget. Unfortunately, diapers are also one of the items that charities receive the least, although many families rely on donations for childcare items.

Suitcases and Reusable Bags

One of the daily struggles for low-income families is transporting their possessions on a weekly basis. Those without a permanent residence must often transport their household items to new locations, sometimes more than five times a month. Old suitcases and reusable bags can be a significant help for families on the move, especially for families with young children.

An Overview of Veterans Serving Veterans Organization Inc.

Within the United States, there is no greater honor than serving our country. The brave men and women who serve in our armed forces are the best of our nation and deserve to know that their families will be taken care of should they lose their life in the line of duty. From 1984-1988, Cleveland resident Brian Stepp served in the United States Marine Corps as a combat engineer attached to Second Combat Engineer Battalion, Second Marine Division Bravo Company. Long after serving with Bravo Company, Brian Stepp remained committed to supporting his fellow veterans and hoped to one day start a non-profit for veterans and their families. In 2017, Brian Stepp and his co-founders were able to make this dream a reality by starting Veterans Serving Veterans Organization Inc., a non-profit designed to support families of fallen soldiers. 

When a soldier is abruptly taken in the line of duty, their families’ loss is unimaginable. While grieving the loss of their loved one, they often face challenges not experienced by civilian families, as the majority of military families rely solely on the income provided by the soldier. When Cleveland native Brian Stepp first co-founded Veterans Serving Veterans Organization Inc. in 2017, Brian Stepp and his co-founders had one goal in mind, to help the families of fallen veterans by providing both emotional and financial support through various services.

Unlike other organizations, Veterans Serving Veterans does not specialize in one area but remains committed to helping veteran families in diverse areas, including healthcare, housing, jobs, food, clothing, education, addiction and recovery, and awareness programs. As a United States Marine Corps veteran, Cleveland resident Brain Stepp understands the unique challenges many veteran families face and hopes that Veterans Serving Veterans can provide these families not only aid but a caring community. 

Veterans Serving Veterans national campaigns aids veteran families with the help of volunteers, raffles, and donation. The non-profit accepts various donations, including food, clothing, health and body items, furniture, electronics, school supplies, and children’s toys. If interested in volunteering or donating items to Veterans Serving Veterans Organization Inc., please feel free to reach out to organization members at www.vsvf.org.

Brian Stepp Discusses How Organizations Can Improve the Mental Health Landscape for Veterans

Brian Stepp of Cleveland

As the president of the non-profit organization, Veterans Severing Veterans Organization, Inc., Brian Stepp has witnessed first-hand the importance of providing veterans and families of fallen veterans with access to resources that benefit their mental health. Retuning to civilian life and processing the loss of a loved one in the armed forces is far from an easy task, and assistance managing mental wellness is one of the most crucial ways that organizations empower individuals to move on. Here, Brian Stepp discusses a few ways that organizations can improve the mental health landscape for veterans and their families.

Provide Access to Mental Health Screenings

 There are several reasons that mental health screenings for veterans are an important for assisting with their mental wellness. Suicide rates for veterans are 1.5 times higher than that of the general population and, while experts may not know the specifics of why this is the case, they realize that there are various factors that may contribute to this issue. For example, insomnia, acute psychosocial stressors, mental health conditions such as depression, PTSD, and traumatic brain injury (TBI), as well as substance abuse all stand out as potential reasons for declining mental health of veterans. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reports that, of the 20 veterans that commit suicide a day, nearly three quarters are not under VA Care. Brian Stepp realizes that this means that, with proper mental health screenings for veterans, organizations may be able to reach those that need it and get them more of the help that they need.

Improve Access to Alternative Methods to Handle Stress

Brian Stepp speaks to how certain medications can be an excellent way for veterans to improve their mental health and adapt to civilian life. Still, he acknowledges that many medications tend to work best in tandem with other methods to help veterans reduce their stress and manage more complex emotions regarding their past, present, and future. For example, many organizations that work with veterans and their families instill mindfulness exercises into their treatment methods. This is because mindfulness can help veterans and their families feel more fully present, reducing stress and increasing self-awareness to help individuals cope with depression, anxiety, and chronic pains. Alternative methods for handling stress and negative emotions can be a useful tool for veterans because of their accessibility and can be used in tandem with medications and clinical approaches towards improving mental health.

Listen to Veterans

While we tend to do a much better job hearing veterans out regarding issues linked to their thoughts, feelings, and overall mental wellness now than in the past, Brian Stepp acknowledges that there is still much work to be done. Even some of the most prolific organizations that assist veterans and veterans’ families can sometimes lose focus of the scope of their work during day-to-day operations. Listening to veterans is one of the most important things that organizations can do as they work to make strides in improving the mental health landscape because they are who it is all meant to benefit. If veterans have thoughts or opinions regarding their care, we should offer our undivided attention to what they have to say. Veterans want to be heard, and their feedback should play a crucial role in advancements made by organizations to increase the scope of their impact.