We have kicked off a new initiative this week – Operation Full Pack. This initiative is focused on providing much-needed supplies (including food and non-food items) to military families, both active duty and veterans.
Picture a soldier who is leaving on deployment carrying a pack on their back. The pack contains the necessary supplies for them to be successful in their mission. The real-life circumstances of many soldiers and their families aren’t that much different from the general public. Financial struggles are real for many and hard choices rapidly come into play. Providing a full pack to struggling military families can keep them on the path to success in their personal life mission.
As you know, the National Guard are many times activated to help address local natural disasters, national pandemics, local civil unrest, overseas deployment in military conflicts, and other challenging circumstances. They can be thrust into these events at a moment’s notice, which can also be for an extended period of time. Living in a low-income circumstance is a tightrope walk for almost half of our population and a soldier’s family is not immune to these issues. A recent survey of military households found that 14% reported experiencing trouble getting enough food during the preceding year. A self-sufficient mentality in military culture may also serve as a deterrent to service members seeking assistance to which they are entitled. Because of that, we expect that the survey could be under-reporting the real need. Active soldiers and veterans from all branches are encouraged to participate if assistance is needed. We will be reaching out to as many veteran organizations as we can connect with to move this forward. We are excited to see this initiative move into action after being in development for over 8 months.
We were invited to attend the District meeting last week for AMVETS at Post #12 (Royerton) and another District meeting for the American Legion at Post #19 (Muncie). Both organizations’ leadership teams expressed enthusiasm and gratitude for our new initiative to provide much-needed supplies to struggling veteran families. The supplies will be made up of food and non-food items that would be very common items in the center of most pantries. We intend to provide about 30 – 40 pounds to each family served. In both meetings, the topic of delivery to home-bound vets came up. Both have an active plan already in place to assist vets with transportation for appointments, so a home delivery component for the home-bound looked like it may be a fairly easy fit for them. The local Muncie American Legion Post #19 has an active organization within the legion called Squared Away. This effort is geared around meal preparation with a home delivery option for home-bound vets already in operation. The two women who lead this effort saw the possibilities immediately and were ready to engage. We are super excited to get Operation Full Pack underway this month with supplies flowing to as many of the posts as have given the green light for engagement.
We do intend to connect with all branches of military service, both active duty and veterans, through various affiliated support organizations. We envision delivering resources (food and non-food items) to the organizations or having them picked up at our warehouse. We have already had a few active soldiers and veterans come to our facility to access these needed supplies. We see this not as a payback for their invaluable service, but as a natural connection to a group of vulnerable families that are flying under the radar of public awareness. Words cannot express our gratitude to all families who serve in any form of military service in this country. We so easily take for granted the amazing work they do to provide and protect the freedoms and choices that we have come to expect.
If you have an interest in more information about Operation Full Pack or how you can support this effort, please contact Robby Tompkins, our Director of Philanthropy by email or at 765-287-8698 ext. 119.