Ashland Area Ministerial Association
Rev. Stanley McDonald
Ashland Area Ministerial Association Starts Program to Assist Needy Military Veterans
ASHLAND , June 4, 2019 – The Ashland Area Ministerial Association (AAMA) has kicked off a new program that will assist with the emergency needs of underemployed and unemployed military veterans in the area, according to association president Rev. Stanley McDonald, minister at New Hope Baptist Church here.
Named “The Veterans Emergency Fund Program,” it seeks to fill a void in other veterans’ assistance efforts , according to McDonald. “There are many good programs offered through the Veterans Administration (VA) that help our veterans,” McDonald said. “However, we have learned that there are many veterans in our area whose needs ‘fall through the cracks.’ This new program addresses these unique needs.”
In order to properly run, the association has enlisted the support and assistance of the VA and the Shelter of Hope, an Ashland-based nonprofit agency providing emergency shelter and transitional housing in the FIVCO area. The VA’s Homeless Veteran Community Resource & Referral Center in Huntington already supports veterans programs in Ashland and the FIVCO area, and it can identify and verify veterans who qualify for this program’s special assistance, McDonald explained. In the same way, the Shelter of Hope will be the primary program manager, because it performs management for similar programs.
Veterans requesting emergency assistance should contact Ms. Anne Robinson, [(304) 657-8867] social worker for the Veterans Outreach Center in Huntington. She will verify their veteran status and the needs requested, and then refer them to Shelter of Hope to coordinate disbursement to a vendor, such as a landlord, utility company, auto repair concern, etc. Assistance will be limited in the cost and frequency and will be determined by Veterans Outreach and Shelter of Hope.
The Veterans Emergency Fund Program will be funded with donations only through the AAMA. AAMA will send the funds to Shelter of Hope to manage and to determine the amount of disbursement. McDonald said he expects each member church of AAMA will develop its own donation plan. Individual donations are welcomed, and may be made to AAMA. All donations should go directly to AAMA, in care of Rev. Larry Sivis, treasurer, at First Christian Church, 1930 Winchester Ave., Ashland, KY 41101.
In a recent 12-month-period, veterans living in the FIVCO area (Boyd, Greenup, Carter, Elliott, and Lawrence counties), 99 veterans contacted VA. Of that number, 72 were in Boyd County, 11 in Greenup County, 10 in Lawrence County, 5 in Carter County and 1 in Elliott County. VA identified 50 veterans with important needs, but those needs were not met due to the lack of community resources. Some of the needs included such things as mortgage or deposit assistance, utilities assistance, transportation costs, vehicle upkeep/repairs, furniture, moving expenses, job tools, DMV fees, and home repairs. The costs of these needs are $500 or less, but no existing programs could assist.
The World Outreach Department of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Ashland, developed the program model, but it became evident that the program required a community effort. It brought the program to the AAMA, which adopted it.
The members of the AAMA are New Hope Baptist, Calvary Episcopal, First Presbyterian, First Nazarene, South Ashland United Methodist, First Methodist, First Christian (Disciples of Christ), Holy Family Catholic, Beech Street Christian, King’s Daughters Medical Center, and Community Presbyterian.