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I received a call today from a woman "calling on behalf of the President-elect's Inaugural Committee." 

They were planning a Day of Action, which would be expressed in conducting a "food drive for starving military families." She cheerfully asked if I could provide a list of families in need.


Sounds like a scam, did you report them to the police?
No, sadly not a scam.  I have encountered this people in several different settings, once referred by people eminently trustworthy.  They are legit and they are so very earnest.
This is proll'y just the natural pragmatist in me.  Screw the person's cheerfulness and choice of words.  There's people out there who need help.  Funnel the jackalope their way.  IT ain't about scoring points or making the opposing ideology look bad(or good).  Fruck 'em and get the people struggling some aide if it's being offered. 

I agree with you in principle, ry.  What made me crazy about it was her choice of words and her obvious assumption that we had huge lists of "starving military families." Because of the military-industrial machine and the heartless Bush Administration, of course.  :P

Believe me, I was completely professional.  And I passed her off to people who would be in a position to make use of her offered help. 

It was just the underlying assumptions she demonstrated, along some recent online discussion about life in the military and the way the Obama administration seems to be prepared to frame military families that just set me off.

Should've asked where her concern was when things were *really* crumby -- during the Carter years...

...buuuuuuut, that would have been cruel, so ya should've just passed her on so's* I* could've asked.

BTW, you owe us six insights into FuzzyBee.
She probably wasn't even born before (or during) the crumby Carter years.
I'd be happy to donate an extra large can of whoop - a...

oh never mind.
Starving military families? Been there, done that sold my blood so I could buy food for my wife and children. FbL, whose ear to the ground is never wrong, did the right thing and we should as well.
O Neg brought $35 a pint in the '60s -- when bread was still 49 cents for a family-size loaf.
Before we mobed last time a local group donated a bunch of stuff to our unit.  They really just wanted to be supportive.  The 1SG encouraged (begged) us to take what we could use so we could tell them that it was helping the unit.  Everyone was kind of standing around going, "Uh, I'm good - any of you guys need some help?" Most of it we re-donated to the local food bank.  I guess the lesson here is if you want to help, try to find out if the help you have in mind is needed.  Same with care packages - We really appreciated the Girl Scout cookies, but after about the 3rd pallet of them even the Thin Mints start getting old.  At one point in 2005 when you entered Camp Virginia in Kuwait the procedure was to clear your weapons, have your vehicle searched and take your box of cookies.  The security guys wouldn't let you on the camp unless you took them.  Really!

I don't think anyone is saying there aren't some who could use a hand (which is why I passed her on; any budget relief free food allows would be appreciated, I'm sure), or that there haven't been times it was really bad (in fact, groups like NMCRS pass out day-old bread and such given to the local USO).  But the idea that there are significant (any?) numbers of military families actually starving is really absurd--and the assumptions behind her thinking so just made me crazy.
Love, love, love your comment, Lawn Chica.  :D
i'm feelin' kinda hongry right now.  i wonder if i could get her to bring me over a nice sammich??
I dunno there are always families hard up but military families do get at least a minimal military income (boot camp lowest?) and you are not going to starve which is rather melodramatic.  Even my parents back in the 70s in that sparse house never starved and neither did I.  Charities are so often meledramatic because it sells.  It's a insult to the people in the world who truely starve.

Fbl did it right i suppose but I can see why it leaves a bitter taste.  Politics does weave into charities oh yes.  In the past and hell previously in Iraq the government controlled via charity.  Kinda ugly turning charity into control, isn't it?

I worked in a charity when younger with my auntie for just one Christmas.  It was a good experience because I got to physically see the people who need the help.  After all one wonders if any charity actually makes it through.  Many appreciate the help.  Some are too worn out and dead inside from whatever struggles they have.  Some are parasites who likely don't need the help at all.  But you don't judge you give and that's that.

Charities are so often meledramatic because it sells.

Absolutely.  The problem is that she was a political operative, not representing a charity.  And she was obviously working off her own politically-based assumptions rather than any connection with present reality.


For Army families in need of assistance, the Army Emergency Relief Program is an excellent resource. It provides emergency grants or loans to military families in need. In addition, Army Community Service offers a number of resources to families, from parent support and free childcare to lending closets and referral services. In these tough economic times, it's important to know that the Army is there for its families. I'm working to set up a blogger's roundtable on the topic, and will keep you posted. Thanks to John for pointing this post out.

I've got enquiries into a couple of AER offices asking about their caseload on cases of this nature.  I've asked the Red Cross and have some inquiries in to local food banks in the Manhattan/Junction City area.

Of course, Fort Riley is a single data point in an area with a relatively modest cost-of-living compared to other parts of the country.

We'll see what floats up from that.
For the record (and since we're swimming in a politicized world and trying to pretend it's not)...

I have had more than one contact with different people (through various connections) saying they were associated with the Inaugural Committee, and they had various plans/efforts underway (more than just a food drive).  Based on these interactions, I do not believe the food drive directive came from the top.  However, I posted on it because I saw it as possibly symptomatic of concerns many of us have had about the pitying and victim imagery regarding themilitary that seem to popping up in some quarters.

I did not inquire as to my caller's title, but I was left with the impression that this was a local group's interpretation of guidance for above.  I fully expect that the directive from the senior levels of the inagural committee was "Find a way to help military families as part of our Day of Action/Remake America in celebration of the Inauguration."   And I'd bet money I was speaking to a <i>local</i> inaugural committee (formerly campaign) volunteer.

Just wanted to clarify...

Oops.  Typo above.  Should be "guidance FROM above..."

Well, regardless, Fuzzy - you let slip the Dogs of Warblogs!