WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As the temperature drops, humanitarian efforts are stepping up to keep homeless veterans warm.

It’s not too soon for the Massachusetts Military Support Foundation to distribute barrels filled with warm coats and hand warmers to area police departments, who in turn will distribute them to homeless veterans in their cities and towns. It might surprise you to know how many homeless vets there are in western Massachusetts.

“More than people realize. And a lot of the veterans don’t necessarily want to get help because they’ve had enough of people telling them what to do.”

At the distribution center on the grounds of the Big E in West Springfield, police from many western Massachusetts towns picked up the barrels containing the warm clothing they’ll distribute to homeless veterans.

State representative Brian Ashe of Longmeadow told 22News there are homeless veterans in the towns he represents. “It happens everywhere, just because there are people who are affluent in some communities, every community has people who are struggling and this is a way to give back, especially the winter months.” Rep. Brian Ashe

22News learned, for the veterans receiving this warm clothing, there is often a disconnect from the time they leave the service to the struggles they undergo trying to re-adjust to civilian life.