Long Beach Citadel creates home starter kits

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(L-r) Captain Moy Hernandez, Kamil Taylor-Diggs, Gail Crandall, Major
Rudy Hedgren Photo by Gail Crandall


Through local partnership, corps helps women veterans with homeware.

By Buffy Lincoln

Long Beach (Calif.) Citadel Corps’ Social Services Director Gail Crandall often visits the U.S. Vets-Long Beach campus in Cabrillo to offer veterans a $300 voucher to the Long Beach Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) Thrift Store to purchase appliances.

Though such items as refrigerators and stoves are needed, Crandall realized women veterans had a need for smaller items as well and devised a partnership with the Long Beach Lions Club, which donated $7,500, to create “welcome home” gift packs for the women.

Each kit contains dishes, glassware, flatware, pots and pans, cooking utensils, bath towels, pillows, pillow cases, blankets and a $25 Walmart gift card.

“I appreciate the services The Salvation Army has available,” said Kamil Taylor-Diggs, a U.S. Army veteran honorably discharged due to a debilitating knee injury. “Gail has been such a help in getting us the things we need, even toys for the kids.”

Following her discharge, Taylor-Diggs began postgraduate studies in psychology and criminal justice at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, but had to drop out to care for her son, Kaleb, 6, who has special needs, and daughter Kamia, 8. Originally from Compton, Calif., she returned to Southern California to be close to family.

Now with a new home, appliances, furniture and a VA school grant, Taylor-Diggs plans to resume her master’s program online.

Captains Moy and Erika Hernandez are the Long Beach Citadel corps officers. Majors Rudy and Judy Hedgren are director of operations and outreach and community service coordinator, respectively.

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