April brings focus to needs of veteran moms

Sixty-four percent of women veterans have one or more chil­dren, and of those that receive financial assistance, 52% are single parents. Every April, the nonprofit Foundation for Wom­en Warriors not only focuses on the need of its women veterans, but also their children. So, now through May 31, Foundation for Women Warriors is calling on the country to help raise $250,000 in support of its 2024 Childcare Campaign.

Foundation for Women War­riors CEO Jodie Grenier said Women Warriors is turning 104 years old this year, that en­hances both the personal and economic wellbeing of women veterans. Founded in 1920, it served war nurses, widows, and mothers of fallen service mem­bers.

“Basically, the community got together and saw that segment of the population was dying of poverty,” she said. “What was established then was the Cali­fornia Soldiers Widows Hous­ing Association. They provided housing for these women at much reduced rate.”

Grenier said it held on to that property until the late 90s, wanting to expand its efforts to increase housing stability amongst that group. Fast for­ward to 2016, Grenier came into the program.

“More of the programs that we have today, they all focus on women veteran’s needs, and we provide emergency and tran­sition services,” she said. “We provide emergency financial as­sistance, childcare assistance, and professional development. We also have a warehouse in the San Diego area where we distribute critical goods. Women are the fastest growing segment of the veteran population, but they also face a myriad of issues that put them at financial risk.”

Grenier said some women vet­erans have longer periods of un­employment as they transition from the military.

“They feel not recognized by the communities that they live in as veterans,” she said. “They also have higher rates of single parenting. Our programs address these issues and help women veterans overcome the challenges and go on to thrive and live successful post-military lives.”

Grenier said the Childcare Campaign addresses an over­looked issue in the veteran pop­ulation.

“Especially women in the veteran population, and that is affordable childcare,” she said. “Affordable and safe childcare is a national crisis, and here in California childcare costs 26% more higher than the national average. According to Health and Human Services, if you are paying above seven percent of your monthly income on child­care, that means you are paying too much. Most people are pay­ing about 24% of their income on childcare,” she said.

This campaign is aimed at raising money to provide day­care for working and student veteran women, said Grenier.

“We can also provide camps during break. Spring break, summer break, holiday break,” she said. “When most people are thinking about going on vaca­tion or spending time with fam­ily, for those transitioning out of the military, they must work. They do not have the vacation stored up or the ability to take non-paid time off. By us provid­ing these critical components of childcare, we are investing in the success of both mom and child.”

Grenier said another compo­nent of the campaign is provid­ing access to essential and criti­cal goods.

“We also ensure these families do not go without necessities, like diapers, cribs, car seats, and strollers. By providing sup­port for post-military childcare, addressing financial insecurity, and delivering resources that help children also adjust dur­ing the transition to civilian life, we ensure children thrive,” she said.

Grenier said it partners with various Veteran Affairs hospi­tals.

“We partner with the mater­nity department at the Jennifer Moreno Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center in San Diego to provide new and ex­pecting mothers with cribs, car seats, baby shower items to help them and their new bundle of joy get off to bright beginning,” she said.

For more information, and to donate, visit www.foundation­forwomenwarriors.org.


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