When natural disasters like tornadoes, floods or wildfires strike, The American Legion's National Emergency Fund swiftly delivers needed money to veterans in their communities. Learn more » 
In support of National Commander Dan Dellinger's primary fundraising campaign, National Headquarters has prepared National Emergency Fund  (NEF) response kits. The kits, which contain helpful brochures and supplemental materials on the NEF program, are being delivered to departments this week.
The brochures describe how to set up an NEF response team, locate affected Legion family members, assist victims in filling out NEF applications and generate good public relations. Also included is a checklist of items to bring, a sample press release, NEF applications and a worksheet to assist in tracking recovery operations.
Dellinger also recommends that departments develop NEF coordinators at the department and district levels. These coordinators would serve as the lead point of contact if and when an emergency strikes.
"We never know where or when the next disaster will occur," Dellinger writes in a letter accompanying the kit. "But when it does, NEF will be in place to provide assistance to Legion Family members and posts recovering from a coastal hurricane, Midwestern tornado, wildfire out west or other major disasters."
Dellinger has set a goal for raising $1 million for NEF during his year as national commander. A full 100 percent of donations to NEF go directly toward grants for Legion family members who were affected by a natural disaster.
The commander recently visited New Jersey, where Legion family members showed their appreciation for NEF funds that helped them recover from Superstorm Sandy a year ago.
"There were catastrophic results from Sandy," Dellinger said. "One man came up said, ‘I benefitted (from NEF). My house is gone. But you were there to help me when I needed it.' And he presented a $100 check to pay it forward. I think that's what a lot of people will do.
"It's only through the generosity of our members that the goal will happen."