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Homefront Help

March 17, 2008
SIGNAL Staff

Homefront Help is SIGNAL Connections’ effort to support U.S. service members, veterans and their families. The column highlights programs that offer resources and assistance to the military community ranging from care packages to benefits and everything in between.

In that same spirit, Homefront Help presents opportunities for readers to donate time, offer resources and send words of thanks to those who sacrifice for freedom. Programs that provide services are listed in red. Opportunities for the public to reach out to service members are listed in blue. Each program description includes a link to the organization's Web site, when available.

The American Soldier Foundation
Driven by its motto “They fight for us—Let’s fight for them,” The American Soldier Foundation financially assists various members of the military community. Grants and interest-free loans are available to troops on extended active duty and their dependents; members of Reserve components on continuous active duty for more than 30 days and their dependents; military members retired from active duty because of longevity or physical disability, or retired upon reaching age 60 and their dependents; and widows, widowers and orphans of service members who died while on active duty or after retirement. The grants and loans are available for a variety of purposes, including everyday needs such as food, clothing, shelter and transportation; medical or funeral expenses; debt repayments; education; financial planning; fines and legal payments; and marriage counseling.

Letters requesting assistance can be e-mailed to contact@soldierfoundation.org. The message should contain the name of a service member and the writer’s relation to him or her, physical and e-mail addresses and telephone number, reason for assistance and the approximate amount of funding required. Military families also can visit the office in New York City and should bring their military identifications and the bill or receipt for a specific need. Applicants can expect quick decisions on their requests.

The foundation is funded through donations and through its Website Affiliate Program and Fundraising Partnership. The affiliate program aims to create a network of Web sites that link to The American Soldier Foundation. Everyone who signs up will be given a special, unique link to the foundation’s site and will receive a percentage of the money their links generate. The Fundraising Partnership offers opportunities for eager individuals, scout troops, schools and church groups to become involved. Those who sign up for the program will receive the resources necessary to hold their own fundraisers.

More information is available on The American Soldier Foundation Web site, including a list of information resources organized by category.

The 4E Network
The “E” in the 4E Network stands for enable, encourage, engage, empower—and that is what this organization is trying to do for wounded soldiers. The oragnization works to reintegrate injured troops with their families and with society. Means of reintegration include medical assistance, traditional and nontraditional therapies, art, music, skill assessment and development, and education. The network supports WalterReedArmyMedicalCenter, the Walter Reed Society, Wounded Warriors and other injured troop outreach groups.  It also supports organizations involved in research and development of robotics, artificial limbs and other devices that assist wounded soldiers, including those experiencing war-related head trauma.

The 4E Network is seeking volunteers and donations to help accomplish its mission. Information about becoming involved and contributing is available on the Web site. The organization also raises funds through events such as dances and lunches. Anyone interested in joining the 4E Social Network can create a personal profile, upload an image and share ideas and stories.

The Red Nose Institute
This is one organization that won’t stop clowning around! The institute ships red foam noses to troops stationed anywhere overseas. Packages include a letter telling military members that the senders are proud of them and thankful for their sacrifice. The goal behind the effort is to relieve the stress of deployed troops. Troops are encouraged to share the noses with local children and anyone who might need a smile. All the noses are shipped at no cost to the recipients. All clowns also are welcome to send in a picture that will be included in a package.

Military members can request packages by contacting the Red Nose Institute at

P.O. Box 11069, Kansas City, MO64119
, or at TheRNI@kc.rr.com. Family and friends also can submit a loved one’s name and address to the group, and anyone who wants to put their money where their nose is can send red foam noses or checks to the organization. The Web site includes a link to a separate business that sells foam noses and donates the money to a summer camp for children with Xeroderma Pigmentosum.

 

The SIGNAL Connections staff encourages readers to take advantage of the programs mentioned in this column and to pass along the information. In addition, if you know of a program that is helping service personnel, please let us know about it. Submit that information to SIGNAL's news editor.

The SIGNAL Connections staff has made every effort to verify the legitimacy of these programs and to include information accurate at the time of publication. Inclusion in this column does not constitute an endorsement by AFCEA International or SIGNAL Connections.