The Alaska Veterans and Pioneer Home strives to give veterans the highest quality of life by providing assisted living in a safe home setting which promotes independence, positive relationships, meaningful activities, and physical, emotional, and spiritual growth.

Some of the best ways to improve the well-being of these residents is by providing social interaction opportunities and by spending time outdoors – both of which have become a challenge during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Many of these tactics had to be adapted or sacrificed altogether to ensure the health and safety of residents.

“There have been many times when the [Alaska Veterans and Pioneer] Home was not allowing any visitors,” said Barbara Nath, secretary of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Alaska. “And when visiting was allowed, it was family only and there were not enough seating areas to accommodate the social distancing mandates.”

Luckily, members of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Alaska had recently received a Veteran Projects Fund grant from the ALA Foundation which would become the solution. With the $2,558 grant and a match from the ALA Department of Alaska, they were able to purchase multiple outdoor seating sets, tables, and umbrellas, which allowed for more opportunities for distanced outdoor visiting.

“In a time when isolation is a way of life to prevent infection, veterans were able to see their families,” Barbara said.

“We were told it [the new furniture] made family visits more inviting, which in turn gave everyone a sense of comfort and normalcy.”

The furniture has also impacted residents on a daily basis, who have been spending more time outdoors, lounging and enjoying nature’s quiet.

“This need for the Alaska Veterans and Pioneer Home would not have been met without the generosity of the ALA Foundation,” Barbara said. “It is very gratifying to be able to assist our veterans and support them in maintaining family relationships.”

Help meet a need for veterans in your community by applying for an ALA Foundation Veteran Projects Fund grant. Get started at