Officials from the Wounded Warrior Project will make available $10 million in reserve funds to injured veterans whose finances have been hurt by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the charity announced Thursday.
Money will be made available to individuals registered with the group in the form of $1,000 grants for groceries, rent payments, and other essential expenses. The organization’s leadership is also asking corporate partners to join their effort with matching donations of their own.
“These are unprecedented times, and we must do all we can to meet the immediate financial needs of wounded warriors and their families,” said retired Lt. Gen. Mike Linnington, CEO of the group.
“Due to their injuries and service-connected disabilities, our nation’s wounded and injured veterans are at great risk. Many are coping with a weakened immune system, increased isolation, and financial hardship. We will do all we can to help these warriors and their families through these immensely challenging times.”
The move comes just days after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced a sharp rise in veteran unemployment last month, up to 4.1 percent. But federal researchers warned that number does not fully reflect all of the business closing and layoffs of the last few weeks, and may rise even more sharply in the next month.
More than 14,000 Americans have died of coronavirus complications in the last month, prompting widespread shutdowns and severe limits on public gatherings for an indefinite period of the future.
A report from the Bob Woodruff Foundation last week warned that the combination of job losses, social isolation and mounting anxiety connected to the pandemic could hit veterans especially hard in coming months.
WWP officials will be reaching out to already-registered veterans in coming days to inform them of the program parameters. Additional information will also be available on the group’s web site.
Linnington said the group will also be reminding veterans about their existing support programs, designed to supplement other metal and physical health treatment plans.
“We know we are not going to be able to give every warrior financial assistance,” he said. “Our goal is to do as much good as we can with the $10 million for those with the greatest need.”
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.