By Greg Scharf | North County Times | Nctimes.com | December 9, 2011
Not long ago, I went ballistic. I saw a table in front of a local grocery store with two well-dressed young women soliciting donations for Toys for Tots; while the familiar barrel was there, they were also taking credit card orders for toys from a catalog. When I saw them leave in a very expensive car, I suspected they were a fraud.
They weren't. I called their organization in Quantico, Va., only to learn that the organization outsourced its fundraising and toy collection.
Not to say they don't do a good work ---- they do, but like the Red Cross and other nonprofits, they are big businesses with huge program, fundraising and administrative costs, such as direct mail campaigns and executive salaries.
I had the privilege of touring the Wounded Warrior Battalion on Camp Pendleton this week, and while I was there, I visited the office of the Semper Fi Fund. The Semper Fi Fund was formed seven years ago by Marine wives, with the charter of providing help to wounded or critically ill service members and their families, such as by providing travel, specialized equipment, adaptive vehicles and home modifications.
When a military member is wounded, family members often have to miss work to be with their loved one, and the Semper Fi Fund will help with travel, food and lodging, and pay bills including mortgage and car payments, utility bills, and even groceries for the family members back home due to lack of income while being at bedside.
The Semper Fi Fund will fill in the gaps not covered by the VA or other government agencies. It also covers costs of visual enhancement devices, software and personal assistance devices for veterans with traumatic brain injuries.
Athletic competitions are a source of healing for many. The Team Semper Fi will provide coaches, uniforms and transportation to athletic events; the Jinx McCain Horsemanship Program is an SFF program, providing horsemanship clinics to wounded service members and their families.
It is often said that the Marine wives have the toughest job in the Corps. It has been my observation that it's the children. And there is quite a lot of stress when dad or mom comes home injured. SFF will provide a week of camp for them. They also provide education and assistance as the veteran reintegrates back into civilian life.
The most important aspect of what they do is providing assistance during time of need with no red tape.
Our war fighters have given so much.
This Christmas, please show your patriotism by contributing to the Semper Fi Fund. Please check them out at www.semperfifund.org.