EAST GREENWICH, RI – Governor Dan McKee was joined by Lt. Governor Sabina Matos, Major General Christopher Callahan and Director of Veterans Services Kasim Yarn to announce $50,000 in donations to the Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund. The donations were the result of a fundraising campaign spearheaded by Governor McKee last year.
The Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund assists Rhode Island National Guard, active duty and reserve military members and their families in times of crisis by allowing individuals to apply for one-time emergency financial assistance grants. Grants can be used to help cover costs such as rent, mortgages, utility bills, medical services, prescriptions, insurance and vehicle payments. One hundred percent of all donations go directly to local military families. Since 2015, the Military Family Relief Fund has raised more than $346,700 given to 113 Rhode Island families.
?"While the brave men and women of our military are serving our state and nation, their families are at home serving too. It is our duty as Rhode Islanders to do all we can to support them," said Governor Dan McKee. "Our local service members and their families continue to sacrifice so much, especially during the coronavirus pandemic when hundreds of Rhode Island National Guard members have been activated to support the state's COVID response. Thank you to all the generous Rhode Islanders and local companies who stepped up to help us raise $50,000 for local military families in need. I know the fund is in good hands with Lt. Governor Matos who is committed to working hard to continue this initiative."
The fund was established by former Lieutenant Governor Charles Fogarty in 2004. A volunteer group of representatives from all military branches, the Office of the Adjutant General and the Office of the Lt. Governor oversees the fund and reviews all grant applications.
"Honoring our state's men and women in the armed forces, past and present, is one of our greatest honors. We owe our military a debt of gratitude that we can never repay. I look forward to carrying on the tradition of ensuring that we can help our state's military members and their families at times when they need the help most. Again, I want to thank Governor McKee for his dedication to raising these necessary funds and all the donors supporting this important initiative. I will continue to do the same and will be a dedicated advocate for our current military personnel and our veterans," stated Lieutenant Governor Sabina Matos.
"The grants made by the Military Family Relief Fund make an enormous impact to our National Guard service members and our Veteran community when they need it most," said General Christopher Callahan, the Adjutant General of the Rhode Island National Guard. "We are truly grateful for this generous donation and the hard work put in by the Governor, the volunteers, and the donors of Operation Holiday Cheer who make this program such a success."
"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our servicemen and women have been on the frontlines of Rhode Island's response efforts, it really seems that there is nothing Rhode Island's 'Home Team' cannot do," said Director Kasim Yarn. "Over the past year, the Rhode Island Office of Veterans Services has received increased referrals for food, housing, and employment assistance through our RIServes network serving active duty military personnel, Veterans and their families. The Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund grants act as lifelines, often bridging a gap and keeping families from falling through the cracks. Along with Governor McKee and Lieutenant Governor Matos, General Callahan and his steadfast leadership at the Rhode Island National Guard, we're part of a network which remains unwavering in our commitment to our Veterans and military families."
The fund is supported through individual and corporate donations and a check-off option on Rhode Island income tax forms. During his time in the Lt. Governor's Office, Governor McKee launched an online donation portal to make it easier for Rhode Islanders to support the fund during the pandemic. The online donation portal and more information about the program can be found at www.ltgov.ri.gov/MFRF.
The donation was made possible by the generosity and support of individual Rhode Islanders and local organizations including: AAA Northeast, American Red Cross Rhode Island Chapter, Amica Companies Foundation, AT&T, Atlantic Paper & Supply, Bank Newport, Blood Centers of America, Inc., Dave's Fresh Marketplace Charitable Fund, Elks (BPOE Tri-City Lodge #14), Home Depot, Massey & Associates, National Association of Postal Supervisors - Branch 105, National Grid, Navigant Credit Union, North Atlantic Distribution, Inc. (NORAD), Pilgrim Title Insurance Company, R&R Machine Industries, Rhode Island Blue Star Moms, Rhode Island Commodores, Rhode Island Manufacturers Association, The Cicilline Committee, Thomas Engineering United States Postal Service Providence Branch and United Way of Rhode Island.