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Support Programs -- Question & Answer Listing  
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Question / Answer

Question:
Am I authorized food stamps and if so, where can I obtain them?

Answer:
The Food Stamp Program provides low-income households with coupons or electronic benefits that can be used like cash at most grocery stores. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) administers this program at the federal level through its Food and Nutrition Service (FNS). State agencies administer the program at the state and local levels, including the determination of eligibility, the amount allowed, and the distribution of benefits. Local food stamp offices can provide information about eligibility. Consult your local phone book for where they are located in your state. The USDA has a toll-free number that you can call for more information (800-221-5689). Most states also have toll-free information numbers.

Question:
Are there special rules about working with local merchants and others to sponsor welcome home events for unit personnel returning from a deployment?

Answer:
Local merchants can be very generous and supportive of their military neighbors, but you should check with your local military community leaders about any laws and regulations that apply. For example, there are restrictions in place regarding gifts and fundraising practices that all Family Readiness Group (FRG) members need to be aware of.

Question:
As a Family Readiness Group Leader (or advisor to an FRG), what Army Regulations and/or Department of Defense Regulations should I be aware of?

Answer:
There are a number of official publications and documents that you should be aware of such as: The Army Family Readiness Group Leader's Handbook that is part of the Operation READY materials, AR 608-1 (Army Community Service Center); AR 340-21 (The Army Privacy Program); AR 672-20 (Incentive Awards); DA Forms 4162R and 4713R (for documenting volunteer hours), etc. The Army FRG Leader Handbook has a wealth of information regarding FRG funds, use of official mail for distributing FRG newsletters, and other important information regarding volunteer management and leading an effective FRG. Consult the Legal Services office in your military community regarding updates and changes to regulations governing FRGs.

Question:
As the leader of a volunteer organization, how can I make the most of the support systems available within the military, civilian or host nation community?

Answer:
As the leader of your volunteer organization, one of the first things you might consider doing is establishing a rapport with some of the agencies with whom you may be doing business. For example, if you are a leader of a youth organization, introduce yourself to the principals of the schools in your community. Consider meeting the leaders of organizations with whom you may need to coordinate activities. For example, you may want to engage support from the Military Police in your community to help with activities for bike safety month or perhaps one of the community churches can provide a location for your annual bazaar. Learn what resources are available in your community and use that knowledge to coordinate the efforts of your organization with theirs. Don’t forget to include host nation agencies if you live outside CONUS. Broadening your circle of support can provide enriching cultural experiences for your organization – and theirs!

Question:
How can my spouse or family contact me in the event of an emergency when I am deployed?

Answer:
In the event of an emergency, the best way for a spouse or family member to contact the deployed Soldier is to call the local American Red Cross chapter. They have procedures in place to relay emergency messages to deployed Soldiers. If the emergency is serious enough to warrant the Soldier to request emergency leave (e.g., death of an immediate family member), the Soldier will generally need to have the Red Cross message to verify the information prior to his/her leave being approved. The Rear Detachment Commander can assist with this process as well.

Question:
How can the Army Family Team Building program benefit me?

Answer:
Army Family Team Building (AFTB) is a training program designed and delivered by family member volunteers. Level I classes are the backbone of the AFTB program. The focus of these classes is to help new military family members transition and adjust to the military lifestyle by teaching basic life skills and by providing information about the specific resources and differences one will find in their new Army environment. Level II is designed for those who typically have some experience as military family members and specifically for individuals who are interested in gaining or enhancing leadership skills. Courses that enhance their personal relationships, develop leadership skills, deal with crisis and conflict management, and improve communication skills comprise the core of Level II classes. Level III classes offer classes for individuals who seek to maintain and enhance current skills as well as develop more advanced leadership abilities. These classes include such topics as developing presentations and workshops, as well as looking at the big picture of the Army and how politics affects the military. Classes in all three levels are designed to encourage the development of mentor relationships and enhance networking opportunities. The skills taught in AFTB classes are by no means limited to the military environment but can be used in other areas of life. When and where a family member enters into the training is based on their experience or choice of course enrollment, not the rank or grade of the sponsor.

Question:
How can the Family Readiness Group (FRG) assist the unit command group with their sponsoship programs?

Answer:
The purpose of the Army Sponsorship Program is to ease a Soldier’s transition into the unit and his/her new military community. The Family Readiness Group (FRG) can assist the unit command group with their sponsorship programs by helping newcomers to the unit. For example, FRGs may have a welcoming committee, Family Sponsorship Coordinator, or Hospitality Chairperson who prepares welcome packets to distribute to new members of the unit (and FRG). This person or committee may also help connect the newcomer with an existing family (who has a similar family unit such as teenagers or young children) to provide support and assistance; contact and/or visit newcomers and make sure all newcomers are added to the FRG’s phonetree and newsletter mailing list.

Question:
How do I contact the unit Family Readiness Group (FRG) Leader?

Answer:
Your sponsor or a representative from your sponsor's unit (such as the Rear Detachment Commander, if the unit is deployed) should be able to tell you who your FRG Leader is. You should be provided with your FRG Leader's telephone number and/or email address. Oftentimes, there are alternate representatives for you to call within your FRG. The Deployment Readiness Coordinator at your local Army Community Service (ACS) office may also have a list of FRG leaders and contact information.

Question:
How do I find out about the medical, dental, and other support services in my new community?

Answer:
Much of this information will be provided to you when you or your sponsor inprocesses at a new duty station. However, you can plan ahead by contacting your sponsor (someone from your new unit who can assist you), visiting the Relocation Assistance office at your current duty station, or visit the Standard Installation Topic Exchange Service (SITES) online which can provide you with information about your new military community.

Question:
How do I know if I am eligible to receive welfare and if I am, how do I apply for it?

Answer:
Welfare eligibility depends on a number of things such as: income, number of dependents, city/county/state, health, etc. Check with your local county Welfare Administration offices for more information on the specifics application process in your location.
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