WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced legislation Thursday to include veterans’ organizations among the groups eligible to receive surplus property donations from the federal government.

The General Services Administration (GSA) currently oversees the distribution of surplus property to eligible organizations, such as medical institutions, providers of assistance to the homeless, universities, and childcare facilities. This property includes such items as computers, trucks, and home appliances. The Formerly Owned Resources for Veterans to Express Thanks for Service Act (FOR VETS Act) will amend existing law to include groups whose membership comprises primarily veterans among the list of groups able to apply to receive unclaimed items in the program.

“We should always look for ways to demonstrate our gratitude for the sacrifices our veterans have made on behalf of our nation,” said Senator Collins. “This legislation would help ensure that veterans’ groups, which enhance the lives of countless servicemen and women each day, enjoy the same access to surplus government property as other groups. It’s one more way to say “thank you” to those Americans who have worn the uniform and to their families.”

Said Senator Leahy: “The sacrifices that members of our armed forces make every day for this country cannot be overstated, and I welcome any opportunity to recognize their services. The FOR VETS Act will enable military veterans to receive surplus goods donations through the federal government’s property distribution program. Given the surplus of available goods, military veterans’ groups are simply being added into this pool of recipients for goods that might otherwise go unused.”

The bipartisan FOR VETS Act is supported by the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.