Woodstock restaurant raises money for homeless veterans

The sign out front reads "Public Welcome."  But inside Woodstock’s Semper Fi Bar and Grille, it’s clear who the real VIPs are: veterans.

Honoring service members is personal for owners Ralph and Carrie Roeger, both of whom served in the United States Marine Corps. And for the fourth year in a row, the veterans recently organized a special fundraiser for the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program, resulting in a $6,000 donation to the nonprofit.

"We do a fundraising event for them every year, usually it's in March, called ‘Mission 5.00.’  And it's where people can donate $5, and then they get a $5 gift card that they can use … during the month of April," says Ralph Roeger.

According to United States Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates, more than 700 veterans experienced homelessness in Georgia last year. And in Cherokee County, the all-volunteer Homeless Veterans Program aims to help as many as possible.

"It costs us about $400 a week to house and feed a homeless vet," says program director Jim Lindenmayer. "You hear, ‘Everybody's two weeks away from being homeless.’ We see that all the time."

So, that big $6,000 check will make a big difference — and, Roeger says, is proof of the overwhelming generosity of his customers.

"A lot of people, they're not even interested in getting the card, they just want to donate the money. Or some of them will purchase the cards and tell us to keep them behind the bar and tell us to use them for other veterans when they come in to eat."

For more information on the Cherokee County Homeless Veterans Program and the services it offers, click here.

WATCH: FOX 5 Atlanta live news coverage


Sign up for FOX 5 email alerts

Download the FOX 5 Atlanta app for breaking news and weather alerts.