Requests for temporary financial assistance through The American Legion are pouring in from U.S. Coast Guard personnel across the country affected by the government shutdown. The annual operating budget for The American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance program is approximately $700,000. As of Jan. 20, the organization has distributed $574,000 in grants, a mere 21 days into 2019. The American Legion is calling on the public, corporations and charitable foundations to donate to help fulfill more than 1,500 additional requests.
"These are grants, not loans," American Legion National Commander Brett Reistad said. "We know this furlough is creating hardship, and we don't want the brave members of our Coast Guard, who are risking their lives defending us daily, to worry about putting food on the table. Most importantly, we don't want to have to turn away anyone who needs help."
The American Legion distributes one-time grants of up to $1,500 to eligible active-duty military and American Legion members in need. Grantees must have minor children in the home and the funds are designed to help meet the cost of shelter, food, utilities and health expenses so that children have a stable environment during a time of hardship.
The American Legion is calling on all Americans, corporations and foundations that are not financially affected by the furlough to make a gift today. The American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance program is funded through the generosity of donations made by American Legion members and the public to The American Legion Veterans and Children Foundation. All donations are tax deductible and can be made online at legion.org.
"If we are going to provide for all the families who need assistance during this crisis, and have financial resources available for the remainder of the year, we are going to need some help," Reistad added. "We have staff working to process these applications as quickly as possible to get checks to the families in need."
Any U.S. Coast Guard personnel interested in applying for The American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance program should go to legion.org for more information.