In addition to the approaching Memorial Day holiday, many folks don’t realize that the entire month of May was designated as Military Appreciation Month in 1999. It was established to ensure Americans had the opportunity to publicly show their appreciation for troops who have served their country.
But 152-year-old Pillsbury wanted to do more than wave a flag or support a Memorial Day parade. The American-based foodstuff provider wanted to help soldiers make the adjustment into civilian life. Made perfect sense since the company had built its reputation and success on the importance of home as a place for “stability and comfort, and safety and unity.” So the “doughboy” company teamed up with Operation Homefront, “a national non-profit whose mission is to build strong, stable and secure military families,” to do just that.
In North Texas, Pillsbury has committed $350,000 to build a new transitional home for “veteran families who are within 12 months of discharge, served honorably, and are willing to work towards self-sufficiency “by providing temporary rent-free housing, financial education, and support services.”
As part of the program, “families will be required to pay a monthly fee that will be refunded upon program graduation (2-3 years). Those funds can be used for a significant down payment on a home of their own or whatever they feel most beneficial for the needs of their family in the community they reside in.”
Groundbreaking on the home is taking place in the days ahead.
Operation Homefront President/CEO John I. Pray Jr. said, “We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Pillsbury to provide financial assistance to military families who are struggling to make ends meet. Their very generous and helpful donation is designed to support the residents in our highly regarded Transitional Housing program and allows us to meet the needs of this very deserving group of our fellow Americans and give them the opportunity to thrive in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.”
But the Pillsbury folks weren’t satisfied with just writing a check for the new home. They recognized that an important element in the transition was the caregiver. Too often they are the unsung heroes/heroines who “provide vital aid to our wounded warriors, frequently coping with the stress of personality changes and frustration of loved ones at the cost of their own needs.”
As part of their partnership, Pillsbury and Operation Homefront are providing 15 care packages to Dallas Veteran Caregivers Support (formerly known as Hearts of Valor) caregivers.
According to Operation Homefront Senior Director Robin Miller, “Military caregivers provide crucial aid to our wounded, ill and injured warriors, frequently putting the needs of others before their own. This Military Appreciation Month, we collaborated with our partners at Pillsbury to recognize these selfless individuals by sending grocery relief care packages to our Dallas Veteran Caregivers Support (VCS) network. Our hope is that this support will shorten their to-do list and allow them to take some well-deserved time for themselves.”
* Graphic provided by Pillsbury ** Graphic provided by Operation Homefront