I’m running into some
difficulty in getting our FRG to accept the unconditional donation of
money that I raised (please note I am NOT an FRG volunteer…not even a
Key Caller) from a direct sales food party I hosted. Part of it, I think, is a
misunderstanding of the regulations and part of it is that the
regulations themselves are entirely too strict.
When we were
in Alaska, I was involved in our FRG. This was before the regulations
governing every aspect of a Family Readiness Group were put in place.
We had a great FRG. Granted, this was pre-9.11 but it functioned well.
We had great holiday parties, social events, and support events. We
raised enough money to support these activities and really had no
problems. Then the new regulations were put in place and everything
We couldn’t raise money the way we used to. Bake
sales were restricted. Fundraisers were restricted. What the money we
DID manage to raise was restricted in it’s use. It was like running
into a brick wall. Eventually, your head starts to hurt so you stop
doing that. Well, most of us do.
Fort Rucker was even worse. We tried to hold
fundraisers on post to support the different activities inherent to
flight school but everywhere we turned, we were restricted in what we
could sell, where we could sell it, when we could sell it, and to whom
we could sell it. You couldn’t sell anything that competed with AAFES
or DeCA. So that eliminates all food items, housewares, flowers, clothing, and
toiletries. Lovely. Never mind that DeCA didn’t sell See’s candy…they
sold CHOCOLATE and that was close enough.
And you couldn’t
sell to people outside of flight school. We couldn’t go down to
Wal-Mart and host a bake sale to raise money. We could sell to our own
people but not to the local people within the community. So basically
we had to fund our own activities.
I don’t know about you
but if that’s the case, I’m not going to waste my time holding a bake
sale so that my own husband can spend $1 on a cookie that I could
easily bake at home for 9 cents and not take 4 hours to sell. Which is
pretty much what we’re running into here too. Our unit’s FRG is holding
a 50-50 raffle. The tickets are being sold only to unit members and
their families. The winner will get 50% of the money raised through
ticket sales and the rest will go to fund the homecoming party.
we have to pay for a ticket for our OWN raffle that goes to support our
OWN homecoming party? Right. But I can’t have my direct sales
consultant hand over a check for $300 as a donation. And yet we gripe,
incessantly, about the fact that "the public doesn’t support us
I wonder if it has ever occurred to
the people that design the darn regulations that the public doesn’t
support military families because they literally cannot; that Army regulation 600-29 literally prevents the public from
financially contributing in any manner? The "Army Commander’s Guide to
Family Readiness Group Operations" specifically states in paragraph
"Family Readiness Group External Fund-Raising…FRGs are not
established for the purpose of being a fund-raising organization. FRGs
may not engage in fundraising activities beyond what was described
above at paragraph 2-2, Informal Funds. The FRG has no authority to
engage in external fundraising on or off post."
the regulation goes on to further state the restrictions upon
UNSOLICITED donations of any kind. So, not only can FRGs NOT raise
money, they can’t accept monies offered to them out of the kindness of
the hearts’ of those offering. Yet FRGs are expectedto
offer up social activities, homecoming parties, volunteer
recognition, hail and farewell gatherings, and other social activities
especially in this era of increased OpTempo and high deployment rates.
Therefore they have to do so by digging into the wallets of those they
are there to support.
about being stuck between a rock and a hard place. Something needs to
change. FRGs are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. They can’t
raise funds in order to provide the services expected of them yet the
services ARE expected of them…by the families of the men and women who
leave them behind to go and fight for their country and to uphold the
oath they swore when they joined the military.
Something needs to change.