Feed the Children Announces New Fund to Help Needy Families of Deployed Troops Fight Battles at Home

Friday, April 4, 2003 | Tag Cloud Tags:

OKLAHOMA CITY, April 4 – Feed the Children today announced the formation of The Emergency Military Family Fund to assist in the war at home for thousands of American military families who have been plunged into instant poverty while their breadwinners are away fighting for freedom.

“Sadly, in addition to risking their lives, thousands of service men and women are risking their livelihoods,” said Larry Jones, President and Founder of Feed the Children. “Even as their spouses are willing to protect their country and shed their blood for you and me, many of their families at home are fighting just to survive and make ends meet.”

While millions of patriotic Americans around the country rally in support of the troops fighting in the Middle East, they don’t realize that the families left behind by the nearly 300,000 military personnel overseas have their own battles and enemies to face – fears for their loved ones’ safety, and struggles to pay the bills and to single-handedly manage the family.

Most of the personnel called up to serve in Iraq are reservists or members of the National Guard, who have had to leave higher paying civilian jobs to take up their military duties. More often than not, these civilian jobs paid more than double what the service member will now earn as their deployment salary.

Many of these troops are the only breadwinner in their families, leaving a spouse to take on the duties of both mother and father, without enough money to pay the monthly bills. Others are single parents who must find means to care for their children during their deployment, some for as long as two years. Larry Jones has seen this struggle, and has mobilized his organization to help honor the men and women who are serving their country and to bring encouragement and help to their families.

“We want to honor those soldiers who realize they are leaving their families in a financial predicament when they kiss their wives and kids goodbye to go fight the war,” Jones said. “If we are going to live in the land of the free, we need to stop and thank the brave.”

Since December, Feed the Children has delivered 600,000 pounds of food and other necessities to more than 6,200 military families at 12 bases. Through the Compassion Caravan, the ministry is hoping to deliver 100 trucks full of donated food and personal care items to many more military bases and communities over the next 60 days. Through the Emergency Military Family Fund, donations will be collected and dispensed to provide needed financial assistance to families left behind who can’t pay their bills.

“We want the families who have a loved one in harm’s way to understand this is not a ‘hand-out’ or charity, but our way of saying thank you and showing our appreciation for their commitment to defend freedom,” Jones added.

According to Jones, many of the families they are helping have lost their homes because they can no longer meet the mortgage payments, or have had to sell their vehicles to get by. Many receive phone calls daily from utility companies and debt collectors — while their children still need to be fed.

In addition, wives and husbands at home remain in constant worry for their spouse’s safety. When able to communicate by phone or email, they are told to remain encouraging and upbeat so that the service member will not be distracted by worries from home during the course of his or her duties. The fact they can’t really talk about their struggles with their mate compounds the feelings of loneliness and adds to the stress of those left behind.

Jones has spoken with countless Americans who want to do something to help our troops in a tangible way, but don’t know how. Public rallies show we stand behind them with our support and prayers, but he believes that needs to be backed with actions.

“I can’t imagine what it would be like risking your life for freedom overseas and wondering if your wife and children are really being taken care of home back home,” Jones said. “I think it gives great comfort to a soldier when he realizes that people on in America are going to help fight the battle with his family.”

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