Salem Military Family Support Center Sees Increased Need - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

Salem Military Family Support Center Sees Increased Need

Posted: Updated:

"We're finding more families that need help," said Jerry Brittain, the Military Family Support Center executive director.

The Salem non-profit says there's an increased need for services.

"[There's] a lot of pressure," said Thomas Summerlin, the media director at the center. "Just because there's more people coming in, it doesn't necessarily mean we're going to be getting more money to help support their needs."

Every year, the center provides services, such as a food pantry, and help with emergencies, such as home or car repairs, to 80 to 100 military members and their families.

"The sequester has definitely, I believe, led to an increase in the number of clients we've had," Summerlin said. "Ever since the sequester was announced and they started pushing more of the active-duty service members to reserve, we've seen an increase in our clients."

Brittain says this year they're getting more than double the referrals from military assistance centers and they're seeing an increasing need across our area, so much so that they're even taking the food pantry on the road, doing a mobile food pantry later this month in Martinsville.  

If the government shutdown continues, they expect more families will be calling for help.

The Military Family Support Center relies on community donations.

"We had a Fill the Humvee [fundraiser], and in August the shelves were filled with diapers.  As you can see a month later they're gone," said Brittain, who added the supply usually lasts six months.

Now they're calling on the community again for donations and volunteers.

"We do emergency plumbing, electrical repairs, sometimes when a service member is away and the family's at home," Summerlin said, "so if you have a trade or skill, that's a tremendous help to us."

The Martinsville family day and mobile food pantry is Oct. 12.

For more information or to find out ways to donate, you can contact the Military Family Support Center at (540) 400-8301.