April is the month we raise attention to American Legon programs and services for children and youth. For Children & Youth Month this year, we need to raise more than attention. The coronavirus pandemic has created an urgent need to financially assist military and veteran families with children at home, whose lives have been turned upside-down in recent weeks. They need our help now, and they will need it for months to come.
American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance grants provide immediate debt-free cash for military and veteran families with minor children at home when food, shelter, utilities, clothing or other basic needs cannot be obtained, due to hardships beyond their control. And this pandemic has been beyond anyone’s control.
Last winter, more than $1.1 million in TFA grants were disbursed to U.S. Coast Guard families in need during the federal government shutdown when USCG paychecks were delayed. “It helped them not get behind on their rent,” Coast Guard Vice Commandant Adm. Charlie Ray said after the TFA grants were delivered. “It helped them put food in the refrigerator.”
Military and veteran spouses who have lost jobs or business income due to the coronavirus outbreak are now trying to figure out how to put food in their refrigerators and keep a roof overhead while a loved one serve in uniform, or did so honorably when called upon in the past. There is no doubt these patriotic American families need and deserve our help.
We can only provide that help through the American Legion Veterans and Children Foundation. The foundation supplies the funds necessary to assist needy military and veteran families with children at home.
In times like these, The American Legion Family steps up. I am asking all of us to do just that this month – American Legion Children & Youth Month – because the only thing kids and parents across our nation can count on in the coming weeks is uncertainty, financial and otherwise. Let’s turn April from a month of uncertainty into a month of hope.