MVRC 2017 Holiday Needs- How You Can Help

MVRC’s role in the community is to facilitate individual and community collaboration to support the well being of our local military and veteran population. We are a voluntary military-community cooperative that empowers service providers and organizations to increase available support capacity and  resources for local military, veterans and loved ones. We have no employees, all volunteers. The primary goal is to strengthen and develop support programs/networks by identifying barriers to care, leveraging existing resources and organizations to support of military as they mobilize, deploy, respond to natural disasters. In addition, we believe in EMPOWERING our military and veterans to continue their success, through our emergency support program. We work in various ways- through community education events, direct military support, partner education on best practices in serving the military and facilitating the creation of new resources when needed.  Right now, we have multiple projects going on. I will try to be as brief as possible, but wanted to give you options in supporting what means the most to you.

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Unit Support: 

A local Reserve unit experienced a loss (death by suicide) about two months ago. MVRC is in close partnership with the unit to provide monthly briefs on resources such as employment, mental wellness, financial success, relationship and family support. to identify specific unit members who may be at risk of homelessness, joblessness and assisting them and to host morale events for family, members and spouses; beginning with a Holiday Family Event and Evening Winter Wonderland Formal on Dec 2 2017. (Event Donations have ended) 

We are in most need of subject matter experts for presentations, in kind or financial donations to support emergent needs and morale events and volunteers to attend and assist at events. 

Specifically, we are seeking funding to fill gaps for the unit. This includes buying groceries for food insecure service members, paying emergent utilities bills while assisting in finding employment, supporting the morale events, providing holiday gifts for members who cannot give their children gifts and more. Visit https://www.gofundme.com/mvrcsupports340th


Holiday Assistance for Military & Families: MVRC works with partners to support specific military families during the holiday season. So far, we have been able to provide gifts for over 70 children this year.

Single mother (veteran) who is a nurse, currently out of work due to a injury. Because of the mental and physical anguish from the injury, she will not be going back to her current employment, however she will be going back to nursing. The veteran is struggling to pay her mortgage, keep her utilities on, pay for their cell phones (her and daughter) and is also behind on her car registration and inspection. MVRC is working with partners to assist with finding gainful employment, preventing homelessness,  finding resources for medical insurance/medication payment, providing free counseling for her and her daughter and assisting her in applying for her VA benefits. In the meantime, the veteran has asked us to help with providing Christmas for her daughter.  Cell phone bill outstanding is $300.00. License plate and registration/taxes: $178.00 Bill Need Met: Dec 2 2017

The daughters wishes are: Need Met: Nov 28th 2017

  • Jeggings XL (girls 14/16)
  • Jeans 14 straight with adjustable waistband
  • Sweaters XL (14/16 girls)
  • “Pop Socket” in pastel color
  • Barbie clothes and shoes for her barbie dolls
  • She truly wants a Nintendo Switch with neon blue and red joycons and Splatoon 2 game. (no donors to help with this need so far, cost is $300.00)

New Born Gifts. We have three families who have recently had, or are due to have newborns. All three babies are boys! We would like to provide them with a small welcome package including gifts and resources for support. Financial assistance or relevant gift cards are welcome. Need Met Dec 2 2017


Service Animal for Veteran: a local veteran who has a service animal is having to retire his current service animal and pay for a new one, due to the health of his first service pet. He has TBI, PTSD, Seizures, Migraines and Anxiety- and the service animal is lifesaving for him. MVRC has been able to secure this training/animal for a VERY low fee of 380.00 (normally these animals cost 10k or more for training!). We are seeking financial donations to help with this need. Need Met! Nov 27 2017


Imminent Homelessness: Local veteran who served 22 years active and is now in reserves was laid off from his regular job. He has been struggling for months, and has been working with financial counselors, mental health counseling and employment help through MVRC. He has been able to secure employment with a local company, however he was behind on rent by 1400.00 at the time he was hired. MVRC worked with his landlord company to guarantee payment of past due money to ensure he, his daughter and family will not experience homelessness. We are in need of contributions to support this effort. This veteran is in agreement with MVRC for a no cost, no interest loan of the full amount; which he will pay in installments once he is more financially secure. MVRC is seeking to offset the amount he will have to pay back through donations. $1200.00 remains for this need! 


Empowering Career Success: MVRC has been connected to a veteran who is experiencing homelessness  and is currently working with a MVRC partner.  Living in a shelter currently, the veteran has secured stable employment! In order to begin work, this individual is in need of mechanics tools, as they are required by his job. Need Met. 


How to Donate: 

MVRC’s donation page is www.mymvrc.org/donate. We have a partnership with Paypal Giving and Gofundme to accept online payments; however we do accept assistance in the form of in kind supplies and checks. If you choose to donate money, you will receive tax documentation and follow up information on the clients you are supporting.

In addition, it is important to note that MVRC does not distribute cash or check directly to military and families. MVRC works specifically with supporting organizations, vendors, and third party providers to pay past bills or meet imminent needs. (money donated goes directly to power company, rental agency, mortgage company etc).

See examples of how donations like yours have supported military and families:

Free Tuition; Changed Life

Hurricanes and Holidays

MVRC ‘Adopt a Veteran’ Holiday Support

MVRC Partnership In Action: Supporting Homeless Veterans

 

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Service Dog Care Request Nov 2017

What We Know About Service Dogs:

“A service dog will help during a medical or emotional emergency, aiding with memory related tasks, and providing security in public places. A service dog is able to pick up on the subtle changes in a handler’s mood, heart rate, and stress levels making it able to intervene.  Traumatic brain injury service dogs are trained specially to offer mobility and emotional support. Service dogs act when the handler is unsteady, when they are unsure of their surroundings and more.  A TBI service dog goes through extensive training to retrieve items or aid their handler in remembering medications. A service dog will immensely help mediate the symptoms of traumatic brain injury. Service dogs are also trained to pick up on the slight changes in heart rate and mood that indicate that a handler is in distress. Flashbacks, anxiety, migraines, seizures and other symptoms are hard to pick up by other people, but a service dog is trained to identify, and act when their handler needs help.” 

What We Know About the Cost: 

“All in all the cost of service dog training can vary from $7000, which includes training them to perform basic tasks, to $20,000 for more intensive training.  Cost is dependent on the needs of the individual who requires the dog. The average service dog with only public access will be approximately $10,000. If the owner needs more specific tasks then costs will increase. ” 

MVRC seeks to help a local veteran in securing training for his service dog.  A local training business has answered the call to support, and now as a community- we need to lessen the financial burden to make this possible. The cost for this program is 380 dollars.

Editors Note: Nov 28th 2017: Need filled by a private donor. 

The Background: 

W is a Army Veteran with an honorable discharge from military service for Traumatic brain injury that was made worse with seizures, migraines, and followed with anxiety, depression, sleep apnea and more.  He is a husband, and father.  W is an active MVRC donor and longtime volunteer. He states “I am happy to pay this forward when my situation allows for that so that another veteran in my place now can also receive the same kind of help. Anything to offset this would help immensely for me and my family.”  

After a failed suicide attempt in 2013  W realized he needed more help in addressing his mental wellness and medical conditions.  W bought a dog and found that the dog easily clued into his preseizure and panic attack activity/scent. He subsequently spent a large sum of money to train him as a service animal and the dog has been performing those tasks for him since.

Last year during a routine exam at the vet , W’s service animal was found to have a heart condition that now limits his activity level and ability to safely perform the needed skills of a service animal.

Initially able to work from home from a longstanding corporate position, W accommodated his service animal’s new needs. In preparation of retiring his first service animal, W purchased a second dog to begin to puppy raise, and provide basic obedience. The puppy (now 3 years old ) quickly picked up on W’s needs, and is poised to be trained for the final aspects of service! 

W  has had to return to his workplace (in-office). Initially, he left his service animal at home because he felt he needed to hide his needs, avoid the stigma in the workplace, and he was concerned with the dog’s declining health.  After a meeting with his manager, who has expressed some concern with his work, W felt it was time to begin the reasonable accommodation process to remain gainfully employed. Part of the  accommodation is to bring his service animal in the workplace to support his mental and physical wellness.

W is unable to fund training the younger dog, but will need this service dog candidate to pass her Public Access/Specific Skills learning in mid December.  

While there are wonderful local charities providing assistance animals, the majority will not train an animal already in the home. Their programming largely relies on rescued or bred pets, and significant time commitments. The time consuming process of training a new dog to sense aura, or preseizure, activity would set this process back by at least 2 years. In addition, W is not comfortable with adding the expense of a 3rd animal in his home at this time.

Final Thoughts:

This is EXACTLY the type of act of service our community can do to show their committment to serving those who have paid the price for our nation’s freedom. MVRC believes in empowering our very ABLE, incredibly TALENTED and insurmountably COMMITTED veteran population. We believe it is our calling as civilians to support the success of our military and families- as they continue to be large assets in our community after service.

To learn about how MVRC uses donations from the community, please click here. 

To donate to this Campaign, please send a check, or use this online campaign to support!

Mesothelioma Veterans Center

 

Mesothelioma is a rare cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. The cancer can start in the lining of the lungs, abdomen or heart. Typically, people get exposed to asbestos in many ways and our firefighters, military, and construction workers are the ones who are at a higher risk of coming into contact with it, due to the fact that they work around a lot of building materials that contain asbestos. However, those who have served in the military are the most impacted group by mesothelioma. The Mesothelioma Veterans Center offers free support and resources for those Veterans who are diagnosed with mesothelioma. Check out some of the common mesothelioma symptoms and see how Mesothelioma Veterans Center can help you!

MVRC is Officially a 501c3

As of August 2017, the Military and Veteran Resource Coalition is a standalone 501c3 nonprofit. Tax ID: 82-1221054  In standing with our policies on full transparency of our organization, you can verify MVRC’s information here: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos

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High Five!

Wait, what ‘were you’ before?

MVRC has been hosted as a committee of the Cope Foundation for many years. While all donations noted for MVRC have always been utilized directly to support military and families, tax information, financial bookkeeping and fiduciary responsibility was covered by Cope Foundation. We are very grateful to the support of Cope Foundation founder, Tania Malik for her years of supporting military and families in the Triangle! Tania will remain an MVRC Advisory Board Member to ensure consistency as we transition the organization.

Okay, got it. Now how do I donate?

MVRC donations will continue to be accepted by mail, on Paypal Giving and through GoFundMe accounts. You can learn more about our donation use and read stories of success on our Donation Page. 

I’m low on funds, but I have interest in helping, now what?

MVRC is always looking for dedicated volunteers, board members and coalition partners to join our work. Learn how to Get Involved 

2017 MVRC is growing like flowers in spring…

An important aspect of the work of MVRC is connecting with available resources in our community to serve those who have served. Below are some brief highlights from the past few months about how our partnerships, your donations, and the care coordination team has been able to empower our military community in the area.

Case 1: MVRC, along with Rev. Shirley King, were able to assist a veteran mom by paying for two nights in a hotel for her and her girls while waiting for a new home. We were also able to connect them to HOPE church which provided 3 Easter baskets 2 for the girls and one special basket with a gift card for mom!  We collected clothes and some house supplies to donate and were able to connect her with a mattress for her new home. 🙂

Case 2: Through the help of private donations and our coalition partner Archangel Alliance, we were able to prevent eviction for a Vietnam veteran and their small child. This veteran was also connected to coalition resources that will help empower their financial success. Through our partners with local veteran service organizations, we are able to holistically meet the needs of individuals, so that not one organization is bearing the weight and so that every veteran received comprehensive care to help empower them.

Case 3: Through generous donations and partners, MVRC was able to help a marine veteran from Durham and his wife obtain a washer and dryer and couch for their home. With help of CARMEDIX in Durham  and emergency fund donations we were able to help the couple get their car repaired in order to ensure the veteran is able to continue to keep his appointments at the VA.  It’s partners like CARMEDIX who are community members, outside of the traditional military support organization system, who care and help by donating services or time as they are able. We welcome CARMEDIX to the MVRC community.

Case 4: An urgent plea for a female veteran went out to our coalition partners and friends in March. After recovering from breast cancer, this individual was on the verge of homelessness and lacked food security. Our community pulled together to not only secure her housing, provide her with monthly food assistance but to also help pay her past due utility services! A wonderful example of how any individual or group can support military and become a coalition partner would be the Friends of New Bern Avenue. In this case, Ms. King-Morgan sent out a plea to her community members- asking them to support this veteran. No gift is too small, including the individual who contacted me to provide fresh eggs from her chickens for this person. The Friends of New Bern Avenue reminded us that EVERYONE can do something to assist, all we have to do it try!

Behind the scenes:

The requests are pouring in, and so is the support. MVRC has gained 4 new board members since January and we are working diligently on community offerings in the coming months. Our accomplishments include:

  • Developing a new tracking system to ensure we follow up with needs as effectively as possible.
  • Developing a new partnership system to continue to understand the needs and offerings of our partners and develop a strong network to serve those who have served.
  • Created an event calendar. Stay tuned for some new and excited opportunities to get involved with MVRC and Your military community!
  • Brought in 4 new partner organizations to support military, veterans and families.
  • Worked with a consulting nonprofit to create new bylaws, new structure, new fundraising plans and policies and to refine our mission and vision

Now what? 

Educate: Learn more about veterans, military and families in the Triangle. Attend an event in support, call a local Reserve unit and offer to volunteer, join an organization like Team Red White and Blue. Understanding our military community is the first step in providing support!

Engage: Want to be a part of the support network? Organizations and individuals may sign up to be a part of MVRC.  If you would like to provide financial support for our work, please donate here. 

Empower: Support Veteran Owned Businesses. Find a military neighbor and offer a hand. Write a card to someone deployed. Give to local organizations that support military/veteran empowerment. Together we can go #beyondthethankyou

Support Resources on Grief

Loss is a natural part of life. Whether through death or circumstance, it is healthy to experience grief. Here are some articles to help navigate the process.

Helping Your Child Deal With Death

Overcoming the Loss of a Child Without Drugs or Alcohol: A Parent’s Guide

How Grief Can Make You Sick

Advice for surviving the death of a spouse or partner at a young age

How to Help an Elderly Parent Deal With the Death of a Spouse

How to Avoid Family Conflicts after the Death of a Parent

Coping With the Death of Your Pet

 

Saying Farewell; Micheal Bishop

MVRC was founded by a small group of dedicated and passionate volunteers who saw a need, and opted to create positive change. For many years, our founding members have played a critical role in the development and execution of MVRC’s mission and goals. Their tireless efforts have created the organization we are today, and we are proud to continue their legacy of service. 

Michael Bishop (Founding Member/Military Adviser) is a native North Carolinian from Greensboro. He honorably served in the United States Marine Corps from 1989 to 1994, which included Desert Shield and Desert Storm. He went to GTCC and graduated in 1993. He went on to UNCG where he double majored in History and Religion. Michael joined MVRC when it was first forming as WakeCART at a very low time in his life. He was himself homeless and living in the South Wilmington Street Shelter. After seeing what resources were here in Wake County for Veterans he decided to continue with the group to help other Veterans in need.  Michael now works for the Durham VA Medical Center. Four years ago the VA decided to make ending homeless a top priority, they started a program call Homeless Veterans Supported employment. Michael was one of three hired for this program in Durham. Three years later when the program was set to end throughout the country Durham decided to keep the program and Michael was made a permanent staff member. This program provides services to any Veteran who is in the homeless program find competitive employment in the community.

Michael has been an inspiration and an example for MVRC. Beyond his personal story of success, Michael has been dedicated to assisting veterans, educating the community, raising awareness of need and finding support for those who cannot support themselves. We are grateful that Michael will continue to be involved with MVRC as he transitions off the board; through his advocacy for quality veteran care and through his willingness to continue to be an excellent resource for MVRC’s board members.

“I believe in what MVRC does to my very core, there are  so many times when other groups cannot help right away and for whatever reason the help is needed right then MVRC has been able to help, and that’s what it is all about.”

To wish Michael well, or share a story with us; email contact@mymvrc.org

Saying Farewell; Randy Marsh

MVRC was founded by a small group of dedicated and passionate volunteers who saw a need, and opted to create positive change. For many years, our founding members have played a critical role in the development and execution of MVRC’s mission and goals. Their tireless efforts have created the organization we are today, and we are proud to continue their legacy of service. 

Dr. Randy Marsh (Founding Member/Care Coordinator) is a licensed psychologist with 40 years of experience in the field of Behavioral Health, and a husband of 40 years, with three grown sons and two granddaughters.  Until November 2013, Randy was a 21 year employee of Wake County Human Services, Raleigh, North Carolina, last serving as the Division Director of Behavioral Health Services.  He led three initiatives that won national, state and local awards and recognition.  One of these is the Military and Veterans Resource Coalition.  Randy is presently semi-retired; working part time in a private clinic and offering other psychological services through his own business, Marsh Psychological Services PLLC. While not a veteran, during the Vietnam War he had several friends and acquaintance who died or were physically or emotionally wounded in service.  As a social worker for the VA early in his career, he came to know many more veterans who sacrificed their health and well-being in service to their country.  He came to have deep respect for these individuals along with a sorrow for those whose service came at great cost.  In 2008, when the Director of Wake County Human Services was looking for a volunteer to explore ways for the agency to do more for military families, Randy stepped forward.  From that time,  MVRC has grown into a community partnership of dozens of agencies, businesses, programs and individuals who care about and support our local service members, veterans and their families.

It continues to be Randy’s desire that no individual who served, or their family, should be left unsupported in their own communities, during or after service. In that light, while Randy is stepping away from a formal role with MVRC he will remain in an advisory role for our care coordinator.

Join us in thanking Randy for his service to our community. Share your message here, or email contact@mymvrc.org!

 

Hurricanes and Holidays

In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew unleashed record amounts of rainfall in Central and Eastern North Carolina; leaving many families without access to food, clean water, power or safe shelter. The floodwaters in many areas did not recede for weeks, which made the situation life threatening for many stranded citizens. The community, National Guard, local law enforcement and responders did what they do best; came together to help one another in times of need.

After the initial support began to subside many nonprofits, including MVRC, began to reach out to the community to ensure they continued to receive care as needed. Mr. K, a father and recently separated Reservist was one of those families.

Mr. K’s home was devastated after the hurricane, resulting in a near total loss of all his families belongings. After receiving a small stipend from FEMA support, Mr. K and his children were left living in a hotel for weeks waiting for his home to be deemed safe to enter. When he was finally able to enter his home, he found that many of his personal items had been disposed as hazardous material.

As our military often do, Mr. K set out to repair the damage and restore the belongings in his home. Having met the Board Chair at an event 4 years prior, Mr. K reached out to MVRC as a last hope during the holiday season. His resources were exhausted and he humbly asked our care coordinator for organizations that could support gifts for his children. Because of an incredible last minute donation to MVRC, we were able to secure two sizable gift cards to support Mr. K’s children.

With only 2 days until Christmas Morning, Mr K. told us:

“Once again, on behalf of me and my family;  we thank you, thank you, thank you! Your organization is such a blessing… may God continue to bless you all”.

Our support didn’t stop there:

In 2017, MVRC will be working to connect Mr. K to educational resources; as he would like to go back to school for a specific trade. In addition, our care coordinator is working diligently on investigating additional resources to support the remaining recovery from Hurricane Matthew.

 

 Thank YOU Mr. K; for your service to our nation.