“There are myriad organizations wanting to help veterans and military families, but all in a very disjointed fashion,” said Colonel David Sutherland in an editorial piece for the August 11 edition of the Raleigh News & Observer. This editorial was based on his white paper from the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff called the “Sea of Goodwill.” The MVRC is actively living out the recommendations of the Joint Chiefs to “match the donor with the need” through local coordination of services. We do this through the act of connecting the right organizations to the specific needs of the veteran or service member. MVRC also sponsors “networking fairs” about every 18 months to gather local organizations together for the purpose of improving awareness and cooperation between them.
The MVRC also discovered along the way that immediate financial assistance to address emergency basic living needs was lacking. Several organizations provide funds but the application process can take several days. Many times a veteran does not have that much time before they lose a job because their car breaks down, they miss a call for a job because their phone is shut off, or they become homeless. We have established a protocol to ensure rapid funding of crisis needs. But our fund is very small and never enough to meet the needs in our community. Because MVRC is all-volunteer, it puts all donations received directly into the emergency fund. We have kept veteran families housed, feed, employed, all with very little money. How many more veterans could we help if we had the funds available?
In the days ahead, we will share about some of the stories of the veterans we have helped. How we have funded them in crisis, or how we called upon several of our partners to work together to accomplish a level of support that none of us alone could have provided.