“Standing ready to assist you and your family as you serve our country.”
The American Legion Post, in its infancy, was very much a “community” post. Made-up of friends and neighbors, members knew everyone else in the post, their families and friends. The post was the focal point when a veteran or family member was in trouble and help was always ready and available to everyone associated with the organization. It was a network of friends and comrades that cared for each other and responded when a need was known.
The Family Support Network is very much the same concept developed in those early days. The difference lies in the expanding population and the loss of the close neighborhood relationships of today’s posts.
The name of The Family Support Network and development of the concept came during the early days of Desert Shield and later Desert Storm and the Persian Gulf War. For the first time in American history, the “total force concept” was activated without much advanced notice or preparation. While the Reserves and National Guard units activated were ready for the military mission before them, the military was not effectively prepared to deal with or support the thousands of families left behind during the mobilization. Paychecks were often lost, not forwarded to the family, or not even generated. This was especially true in the Reserves and National Guard.
As a result, the families of these men and women found themselves unable to meet normal monthly expenses and assistance was needed for a variety of everyday chores. These tasks included grocery shopping, childcare, mowing the grass, fixing the family car and a multitude of routine household jobs.
To address these issues, The American Legion implemented a 24-hour nationwide toll-free telephone number, 1-800-504-4098, for service personnel and their family members to call for assistance. Calls are referred to The American Legion Department (state headquarters) in which the call originated. The Departments relay the collected information to a local Post. The local Post contacts the individual to see if assistance can be provided locally. Since the inception of the Family Support Network, thousands of Posts have responded to meet the needs of these families.
Posts are reminded that families in financial need, with minor children, may call on the Temporary Financial Assistance program at the National Headquarters to assist. Otherwise, it will be up to the Post to provide or develop the resources necessary to meet the need.
The Family Support Network only works if Legionnaires at the Post level respond to the increasing needs of comrades and their families. As the nation’s largest veteran’s organization, our commitment to our men and women in uniform and their families never wavers. Together, we must act to ensure that no family endures hardships caused by military service alone. By doing so, we ensure that The American Legion is “Still Serving America.”
Current Family Support Network Procedures:
- The call is received at the toll-free number: 800-504-4098
- The name, address, telephone number of the caller, and reason for the call is collected.
- The call is referred to the Department.
- The Department refers the call to a local post.
- The local Post contacts the family and provides the assistance if resources are available or refers the family to other local agencies.
In case of financial need, the Post provides the necessary funds or assists the family in applying for Temporary Financial Assistance if there are minor children in the home.
The American Legion
Family Support Network
P.O. Box 1055
Indianapolis, IN 46206
The American Legion
Department of Iowa
720 Lyon Street
Des Moines, IA 50309