I recognize there is little I can say to provide comfort and ease your concerns about this pandemic. If you are like me, you are eager to take action to protect your family and friends. Knowing many people are struggling or will struggle in the coming months or years to make ends meet, stay healthy, and support their families, or even to survive, weighs on us all.
What gives me solace, however, is the faith I have in our first responders and health care providers, and in the relief efforts popping up in our communities. People are putting themselves at risk for the benefit of their neighbors and their country. These are demonstrations of selfless service like you see in the military ranks, in local communities all across America.
That said, most of us have been called to stay home. While it doesn’t feel like a contribution, it is critical to stopping the spread of this harmful virus, and I encourage you to answer that call.
Despite the ongoing and newly developed relief efforts in place and organizations taking action to help address our country’s growing and ever-changing needs, we know demand will continue to grow and evolve. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, certainly will help ease the burden, but there is still uncertainty with timing and eligibility. Therefore, we anticipate gaps in coverage, and we fear some individuals in need might be overlooked.
MOAA is uniquely positioned to identify these gaps with our vast network of 350,000 members and 400 local chapters; our currently serving, spouse, and surviving spouse councils; and our energized national MOAA team. However, we see a greater need beyond our current programs to help in this crisis. Therefore, the MOAA Foundation is creating a COVID-19 Relief Fund to support military and veteran families.
We’re already seeing hardship situations for veteran-owned businesses, military families struggling with mid-PCS freezes, health care providers facing incredible adversity, and veterans who don’t qualify for benefits from service relief societies … the list goes on. While many of these situations will be resolved, others will emerge.
To help those in need, we are collaborating with credible organizations to ensure we get relief to military and veteran families without duplicating efforts. We simply need the resources to execute. We are at war with an invisible enemy, and your support is critical to our mission to get ahead of demand and do what’s right for military and veteran families. One hundred percent of your donation will go to respond to these issues.
If each of our Life Members pledged just $20, for example, to our COVID-19 Relief Fund, we would generate a little more than $3 million to help alleviate hardships during this crisis.
Many of you are doing great things to support our nation. If you are looking to help military and veteran families, please consider clicking here and donating to this worthy cause.
As another incentive to donate, MOAA Life Member Col. Arville Hickerson, USA (Ret), has challenged The MOAA Foundation to raise $25,000 to jump-start this campaign, and he will match it. For every $100 given, he will donate $100, up to $25,000 or until May 5. And note, the CARES Act allows you to deduct $300 in contributions to nonprofits on your 2020 tax return if you take the standard deduction.
Please double the impact of your donation and support military families.
Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret)