2019-2020 National Veterans & Family Support Ambassador
VFW Auxiliary members support our military community in many different ways. We help military families get through long deployments, and host send-off and welcome home events. We know how important troop support is because many of us have experienced military life as a spouse, child, parent or sibling of a solider. Below are a few assistance programs offered through our national VFW and promoted by the Auxiliary.
Military Assistance Program (MAP)
Our Military Assistance Program (MAP) is the outstretched hand between the local VFW and military community, offering support around the world. A large part of MAP is the Adopt-a-Unit program, providing VFW Posts and their Auxiliaries the opportunity to adopt hundreds of military units around the world. Adopt-a-Unit’s goal is to develop supportive relations with units before, during and after deployments to help deliver the vast network of resources the VFW has available to the military. To learn more about a Military Assistance Program Grant and Adopt-A-Unit login on the VFW website at www.vfw.org.
The VFW’s Unmet Needs Program provides grants to active-duty service members, veterans and their families to assist them with basic life needs. The program provides financial aid of up to $1,500 in the form of a grant – not a loan – so no repayment is required. To further ease the burden, the creditor is paid directly. Eligibility requirements have changed and now the financial hardship must be due to one of the following:
- Currently on active duty, whose financial hardship is a result of a current deployment, military pay error, or from being discharged for medical reasons.
- Discharged on or after September 11, 2001, whose financial hardship is a direct result of your military service connected injuries and/or illnesses that are causing an employment hardship.
- Discharge prior to September 11, 2001, who are on a fixed income (VA compensation, SSI, SSDI) and/or your financial hardship is an emergency situation.
For additional information and to review the Unmet Needs eligibility criteria and application: http://vfw.org/assistance/financial-grants. This application is ONLY online. If someone doesn’t have a computer or isn’t computer-savvy, offer to meet them at the local library or Post home and assist them in submitting the application.
Ramping Up for Philanthropic Success for Veterans in Need
All impactful projects start with a passionate idea ignited by a vision. Greg Schneider’s exemplary story speaks volumes of his compassion for the veteran community. Schneider, Operation Ramp It Up’s Founder and CEO, attended his first Ramp It Up for Veterans event in 2013. The ramp installation was with a United Way agency partner in Cincinnati, Ohio dedicated to providing low-income, elderly and veteran community members with a higher quality of living.
His volunteer team, made up of several fellow UPS employees, built a wheelchair ramp for the widow of a deceased veteran. Schneider had several conversations with her regarding her need for the ramp, her late husband, and his military service
“It is so rewarding seeing a veteran or a family member come out of the home for the first time without any assistance,” says Schneider.
Seeing her tears of joy while using the ramp for the first time inspired Schneider.
In reflection, he says, “We were so impressed by the impact it made on the quality of life for the veteran’s widow that we wanted to do more – I wanted to get involved.”
The desire for more involvement sparked the initiation of Operation Ramp It Up, an internal Cincinnati philanthropic program Schneider developed. Since the program’s inauguration seven years ago, it has seen the completion of over 80 wheelchair ramps in 18 different states. The initiative has received interest in national sponsorships and support from multiple NFL athletes, United Way, U.S. Congressional leaders, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Boys Scouts of America and several other corporations and veteran agencies.
Schneider never thought that his vision to benefit the veteran community would snowball into a national initiative. However, with a little hard work, passionate dedication, and familial support, he proves that anything is possible when you give it your all.
His long term goal is to have ramps in all 50 states.