The Bob Woodruff Foundation spearheads a growing initiative to support veterans and their family members

Since its inception in 2006, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has called on people to address the emerging and long-term needs of veterans, including mental health, caregiver support, food insecurity and service-related fertility issues. The initiative, founded after journalist Bob Woodruff was injured in a roadside bombing in Iraq, has invested more than $85 million in programs that have empowered veterans, active-duty military and their family members. This reinforced the message that the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) has “Got Your Six”.

Today, BWF’s “Got Your 6 Network,” made up of grant recipients and local community partners, totaling more than 3,000 organizations in 50 states, meets the needs of veterans who need additional support. The network includes community partnerships made up of businesses, Community Veterans Engagement Boards (CVEBs), government agencies, service providers, donors and others committed to helping Veterans.

During its spring funding cycle, BWF provided $600,000 to its community partners who support veterans and their families at the local level. This funding has helped 74 communities address food insecurity, meet basic needs and promote upstream solutions. Thanks to Craig Newmark Philanthropies for making this possible!

The East Texas Veterans Community Council used funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation to provide emergency financial assistance to veterans and military families in East Texas.

Here are three examples of how Community Veterans Engagement Councils have used foundation funding.

Eastern Carolina Veterans Coalition

When the East Carolina Veterans Coalition (ECVC) received a grant from the BWF, they wasted no time in using it. The money was distributed to veterans in four different North Carolina metropolitan areas.

Much of the funding was used to address one of the most difficult and common issues facing veterans and military families: food insecurity. To help mitigate the impact on local veterans, ECVC has partnered with a local supermarket chain to provide grocery gift cards to veterans and their families in Greenville, New Bern, Wilson and Goldsboro. These four North Carolina communities have large populations of veterans, active members, and military families.

The funding was also used to strengthen local programs offering specialized assistance to veterans. The Veterans Employment Base Camp and New Bern Organic Garden received a portion of the grant. This non-profit organization uses a special method of rehabilitation for transitioning, homeless, unemployed and underemployed veterans: horticulture training. Offering veterans the chance to learn how to grow organic produce is a peaceful and productive outlet. Gardening also helps veterans learn life skills, improve their mental health, and reintegrate into the workplace. This can impact those who have experienced violent or stressful situations during their service.

East Texas Veterans Community Council

Food insecurity is a complex national problem that requires a combination of funding and action plans to address it. In the Lone Star State, the East Texas Veterans Community Council has invested BWF funds to create strong solutions to address food insecurity. The organization used much of the funding to help veterans cover living expenses and food, mostly in the form of emergency food cards.

Just as food prices have increased, the price of fuel has also increased. Some regions have seen an increase in fuel costs of up to 50% compared to last year. To ease this burden, the community council purchased gas voucher cards for veterans and military families and provided city bus passes to others who rely on public transport.

To address the overall rising cost of living, the council used BWF funding to provide extensive emergency financial assistance to veterans and military families in East Texas. Families could cover emergency bills, including overdue rent and utility bills; mortgage payments; vehicle repairs; and general living expenses.

Bay Pines/Pinellas County

Food insecurity and financial uncertainty are difficult situations to live with and can lead to unhealthy lifestyles. When people have limited financial resources, they may choose to spend on less nutritious and cheaper options due to the higher cost of healthier fresh foods. Financial uncertainty can lead to unhealthy eating habits over time, which, in turn, can lead to serious health issues.

In Florida, the Bay Pines/Pinellas County Engagement Committee stepped in to address this issue by applying for BWF grants to help the nonprofit Feeding Tampa Bay food bank and to continue its partnership with the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System. . The funding was applied to veterans and active duty personnel through Feeding Tampa Bay’s FoodRx program. A collaborative program that works with local hospitals and clinics, FoodRx provides customers with nutritious food and healthy lifestyle education, all free of charge.

Veteran patients also have access to Feeding Tampa Bay’s Groceries on the Go mobile grocery store. Groceries on the Go sells discounted groceries from its delivery trucks to inner-city Tampa-area neighborhoods. Hundreds of veterans have benefited from the combination of the 12-week FoodRx program and free, healthy food choices from Groceries on the Go.

More information

Click on the Bob Woodruff Foundation website to become a local BWF partner.

The sharing of any non-VA information does not constitute an endorsement of products and services by VA. Veterans should verify information with the offering organization.

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