Every day, Americans continue to face the trauma of war, loss and grief. Military families are battling financial crisis, grieving the loss of extraordinary loved ones and coping with the aftermath of deployment. Fortunately, the United States houses over 45,000 nonprofits aiming to support our military men and women and their families. States across the country continuously take action to educate the public on the hardships that military families face. Massachusetts alone provides 940 organizations and quite a few of these nonprofits can be found right in the state’s capital city.
Located in the heart of Boston is The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund, a private, non-profit committed to providing support to the families of military personnel with ties to Massachusetts who have died as a result of active duty service post 9/11/2001. Established by Senator Edward M. Kennedy and families victimized by September 11, 2001, the nonprofit took off on Memorial Day, 2009. Today MMHF provides programs, resources and services to support military men and women, as well as their families.
Like most nonprofits devoted to helping veterans, The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund serves to alleviate financial struggle of military families. Unfortunately, funeral costs continue to skyrocket in the United States. In the US, the average cost for funeral arrangements ranges from 5,000 to 10,000 dollars. The Emergency Casualty Assistance Program assists families who have lost an immediate family service member and these funds are used to pay for funeral arrangements of those that do not have coverage by a military program.
Along with the families impacted by the loss of a loved one, transitioning to civilian life after combat is one of the toughest challenges our veterans face. The organization runs The Family Enrichment Program, a program which offers up to $1,000/year to eligible households for expenses such as mental health counseling, life coaching services, career counseling fees, educational classes, tutoring, childcare expenses, camps and vocational training.
Aside from its programs, MMHF constantly hosts both public and private events honoring our military personnel and providing support to families impacted by the loss of a loved one. One of the most recognized events launched by MMHF occurs on Memorial Day of each year in Boston. Leading up to the recognized holiday, hundreds of volunteers gather to plant American flags across Boston Common. The iconic patriotic display began in 2010 and honors families of fallen Massachusetts servicemen and women. Each flag represents a soldier from the Bay State who has died in combat as far back as the Revolutionary War. This year, a sea of 37,251 flags flooded the Common and all were carefully monitored throughout the weekend.
In addition to the planting of the flags and the ceremonies that follow, each year on September 11th, The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund coordinates a drive to build care packages for local veterans, homeless veterans and active duty service members overseas. Packs are carefully filled up with food, clothing and other necessities graciously accepted by our soldiers. Along with creating care packages, MMHF and volunteers of the Commonwealth orchestrate time to write letters of support to our troops to include in each package.
The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund proudly participates in The Boston Marathon to support our veterans. Each year, MMHF receives two bibs from John Hancock’s Boston Marathon Non-Profit Program, allowing two runners to raise over 7,500 for the organization.
The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund is just one of thousands of non-profits across the United States who stand by the mission of “supporting families who have made the ultimate sacrifice”. For more information about The Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund and to find out how you can support our heroes, please visit http://www.massmilitaryheroes.org.