Minnesota Disabled American Veterans Lakeland Chapter 31 created a “Pay It Forward” Grant to assist local veterans in need. The grant is used to help buy groceries, gas cards, pay rent, etc. when necessary. The grant is carried out in partnership with a Chapter 31 grant committee and the Becker County Veterans Service Officer. To be eligible for the grant, you must be a veteran, a Becker County resident, motivated toward positive change and agree to “Pay It Forward.”
Once the veteran is determined eligible for up to a $500 grant to help buy groceries, gas cards, pay rent, etc., they will be granted lifetime membership in DAV Chapter 31 and the Veteran is required to “Pay it Forward” by volunteering for a DAV event or when financially stable, pay back $100 to the “Pay it Forward” grant fund.
Determining the eligibility of the veteran is performed by the County Veteran Service Officer with the strictest confidence and the respect due veterans and their families. Upon initial contact, the Veterans Service Officer will assess the problem along with any strengthens that the veteran or family member has to overcome their difficulties. The CVSO will work with the veteran and/or family to develop a plan to identify resources available. At such time deemed necessary, the CVSO will contact the chapter commander and ask for a meeting to request funds for any unfilled need such as help buy groceries, gas cards, pay rent, etc. At no time will names of veterans or families assisted be released by the CVSO to the general public.
The impact of the “Pay It Forward” Fund is measured by the feedback the CVSO receives from the Veterans and their families.
The grant is made possible by the sale of used clothing, shoes and other miscellaneous items collected by the chapter at collection sites in the area located at the following locations: Semi Trailer and bin at corner of McKinley and Frazee St., Bin at SW corner of Michael’s Furniture parking lot, Bin at American Legion Parking lot, Semi-Trailer by Compassion house on 8th St., Bin at Greens Plumbing on Hwy. 59 N, Audubon meats in Audubon.
DAV Chapter and Auxiliary volunteers pick up clothing from the bins once per week and take the clothing to a semi-trailer collection point for packing. BM Transport in Detroit Lakes donates their trucks, drivers, and gas to take the trailer load of clothing to Savers Thrift Store in Fargo, ND. This year nine semi-truck loads of clothing were delivered. The Auxiliary receives a contribution from the clothing sold and “Forget Me Not” to help fund their programs.
Pictured above is the DAV Chapter 31 committee giving a grant check to the CVSO. Left to right are: Duane “Doc” Lindsay, Chapter Treasurer, Laurie Brooke, Becker County Veteran service Officer, Danny Morrison, Chapter Trustee, Neil Olson, Chapter Commander
This is only one of the many programs offered by the DAV and the Veterans Service Office. Contact us to learn more about what’s going on in your community and how you can help.
To learn more about the “Pay It Forward” process, contact:
Commander: Neil Olson
CVSO: Lauri Brooke