“The need is enormous, and the resources are very limited,” said Lt. Col. James Albert, USAF (Ret), when describing how military and veteran families in his community are coping with the impact of COVID-19.
Albert is president of MOAA’s Grand Strand Chapter in Myrtle Beach, S.C., a popular East Coast vacation destination but now a city facing one of the highest number of layoffs per capita in the country.
“The number of people lined up at the food pantries and the soup kitchens literally is down the street. They estimated one of them went almost a mile,” said Albert. “It’s really disturbing.”
Unfortunately, the situation in Myrtle Beach is not isolated or unique. The gravity of the challenges and hardships communities are facing is unlike anything in recent history.
Prior to the pandemic, the MOAA Foundation was not directly involved in emergency relief services. However, it didn’t take long to realize the need would far outweigh current available resources. We could not stand by and watch residual effects of the pandemic threaten livelihoods of servicemembers and veterans and their families.
Therefore, we launched the COVID-19 Relief Fund on April 15, and thanks to your generosity, we have been able to provide immediate support in areas of critical need to those who need it most.
Emergency Financial Relief
Through the chapter network, the foundation is providing grants up to $500 per household for military and veteran families experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus outbreak. We will continue to take applications until need no longer exists or funds have been exhausted.
Emergency COVID-19 Community Grants
To ensure immediate relief was given where needed, we looked to MOAA chapters that applied for Community Outreach Grants and identified those working in areas already seeing increased demand for services. We disbursed $5,000 COVID-19 Relief grants to 11 chapters, including the Grand Strand Chapter, working to support communities experiencing tremendous need. These chapters are providing aid and assistance to military and veteran families facing unemployment, who are homeless or facing homelessness, who are dealing with food insecurities, and those who need help paying for clothing, utility bills, transportation costs, and more.
Every dollar donated to this effort goes toward these relief services. If you have not yet contributed, we hope you will consider donating today. Your support will ensure we are positioned to push resources where they’re needed most.
For those who have given, on behalf of our charities and those we serve, thank you. Your contributions have changed lives and provided hope in a time of despair.
[DONATE: Make a Difference for Military Families]
Employment and Job Security
In addition to funding emergency relief grants, MOAA’s Transition team completely remodeled its professional development services and events to be accessible to all from the safety of home. Job security is critical to recovery, and our team will continue to help support in this area through virtual career fairs, webinars, and by providing remote workstations for military spouses through partnership with Microsoft and Hiring Our Heroes.