As part of Veteran Energy’s mission to Support Our Heroes, we give back a portion of each customer’s invoice to trusted military and veteran organizations. Sometimes, customers decide to funnel their contributions to a general fund instead of choosing a specific organization. These dollars are used to fulfill requests we get throughout the year to support great community causes.
Read on to learn more about the latest organization we’re proud to sponsor through this program: Operation Phantom Support.
Operation Phantom Support was created to address the challenges service members face in trying to make ends meet. From a food bank to tire replacements to school supplies, this organization works to make sure its members never do without.
Founded in Killeen, TX, by John Valentine, SFC (Ret), in 2014, the organization primarily serves the Fort Hood area. With a large military presence there (more than 40,000 soldiers on base and 100,000 veterans within 25 miles), the group serves more than 4,000 members each month.
“Operation Phantom Support was built to directly impact our own families and other families in the community,” Valentine said. “It’s about helping each other out, and doing it all ourselves.”
Financial challenges can be a big concern for our service members. Deployments and frequent moves present real obstacles to financial security, such as making it hard for military spouses to maintain their own jobs. During deployment, military spouses often need to rely on childcare more than they did when they had their spouses at home as well.
For veterans, finding employment after returning to civilian life can present other financial difficulties. In one study, 17% of the veterans surveyed reported it took them more than a year to find a job. And many face medical challenges that restrict the kind of work they can take on.
Valentine said it happens so often that people struggle with the little things, such as clothes, food and diapers. While many support organizations focus on big-picture challenges, Operation Phantom Support wants to make those little things easier for current military, veterans and first responders.
Despite these challenges, Valentine knows how important pride is to these brave men and women. OPS members donate $20 a month to access the full range of services. In this way, they can see exactly where their money is going. And rather than getting a handout, they’re helping build a strong community.
Services include free holiday gifts, free birthday cakes, car repairs at half off, and access to the food pantry. Members can easily log into their account with Operation Phantom Support to make an appointment or request an item.
While OPS keeps canned goods and other non-perishables on hand, the food pantry is primarily fresh food such as meat, fruit and bread. It also includes essential items such as diapers. On average, members receive about $300- $400 in groceries for the month.
“We want to help our members stretch their dollars a little further. They can take the money they’d usually have to spend just to keep their households running, and spend that on something else for themselves and their families instead,” Valentine said.
For more information or to make a donation, please visit www.phantomsupport.org.