Chronicle of Tim Kean: Operation Full Pack to Help Military Families | Columns
We launched a new initiative this week: Operation Full Pack. This initiative focuses on providing much needed supplies (food and non-food items) to military families, both active duty and veterans.
Imagine a soldier going on deployment with a bag on his 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 are not that different from those of the general public. Financial difficulties are real for many, and difficult choices quickly come into play.
Providing these supplies to struggling military families, both active duty and veterans, can keep them on track for success in their personal life mission.
As you know, the National Guard is repeatedly activated to help deal with local natural disasters, national pandemic, local civil unrest, overseas deployment in military conflicts and other difficult circumstances. They can be involved in these events at any time, which can also be for an extended period of time.
Living in low income is a tightrope walk for nearly half of our population, and a soldier’s family is not immune to these issues. A recent survey of military households found that 14% said they had difficulty getting enough food in the past year. A culture of self-reliance in the military can also act as a deterrent to service members seeking the assistance to which they are entitled. For this reason, we expect the survey data to be underreported compared to an actual need.
Active soldiers and veterans of all branches are encouraged to participate if assistance is required. We will contact as many veterans organizations as possible to get things done. We are delighted to see this initiative come into action after more than eight months of development.
We were invited to attend last week’s district meeting for AMVETS at station # 12 (Royerton) and another district meeting for the American Legion at station # 19 (Muncie). The leadership teams of both organizations have expressed their enthusiasm and gratitude for our new initiative to provide supplies to families of struggling veterans.
The supplies will consist of food and non-food items that would be very common items at the center of most pantries. We intend to provide approximately 30-40 books to each family served. During both meetings, the subject of childbirth at home vets was discussed. Both already have an active plan in place to help vets travel to appointments, so a door-to-door delivery component seemed like a fairly easy fix for them.
The Muncie American Legion Post No. 19 has an active organization within the Legion called Squared Away. This effort revolves around meal preparation with a home delivery option for home vets already in business. The two women who are leading this effort immediately saw the possibilities and were ready to commit.
We are very excited to launch Operation Full Pack this month with supplies flowing to as many positions as we have given the green light for engagement.
We intend to connect with all branches of military service, both active duty and veterans, through various affiliated support organizations. We are considering delivering resources to organizations or having them picked up from our warehouse. We have already had a few serving soldiers and veterans who came to our facilities to access these necessary supplies. We see this not as a reward for their invaluable service, but as a natural connection to a group of vulnerable families who fly under the radar of public awareness.
Words cannot express our gratitude to all the families who serve in any form of military service in this country. We so easily take for granted the incredible work they do to provide and protect the freedoms and choices that we have come to expect.
If you would like more information about Operation Full Pack or how you can support this effort, please contact Robby Tompkins, our Director of Philanthropy, at [email protected] or 765-287-8698, ext. 119.
Tim kean is the President and CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana. His column is published on the third Saturday of each month in The Herald Bulletin.