October 21, 2016
McLean, VA – Members of the Our Military Kids Board of Directors took an unprecedented step at its September board meeting, voting to decrease OMK’s maximum grant amount per child from $500 to $250, effective Oct. 1.
According to Linda Davidson, executive director, donations are not keeping pace with the increasing demand for grants. “There’s a perception out there that deployments are down, so the need must be down. But that just isn’t so,” Davidson said.
Gen. Daniel Allyn, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, said earlier this year, “With 186,000 deployed on a daily basis in 140 countries, you understand my discomfort with trying to continue to meet…current operations with a force that is getting smaller.”
“Deployments are continuing, Guard and Reserve are as critical to the security interests of our country as ever, and wounded warriors are trying to heal,” Davidson said, “Many of these warriors have children, and the children continue to need our attention.”
The Our Military Kids mission is straightforward: support children of National Guard and Reserve service members, as well as children of active and reserve wounded warriors, by paying fees associated with athletic, fine arts and tutoring programs. Research shows that activities like these help children cope with anxieties and other challenges that arise when a parent is absent during deployment or distracted during recovery.
Since April 2005, the organization has delivered more than 55,000 grants, totaling $22 million. In 2014 all of its federal funding was cut, making for total reliance on private donors.
“The organization continues to respond to the plea of a service member who said: ‘Please don’t send cookies, care packages or socks. Just help take care of our children’,” Davidson said.
“Every American has an opportunity, an obligation, to take care of military children while their military parents serve overseas or recover from visible and invisible wounds of war.”
(To comment on this story, email JSMcSpadden@ourmilitarykids.org.)