9.13.2007

Restrictive Regulations and Overkill

So, as I've discussed in previous posts, 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 the Tastefully Simple party. 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 changed.


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.


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, 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.


So 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 Tastefully Simple consultant hand over a check for $300 as a donation. And yet we bitch, incessantly, about the fact that "the public doesn't support us military families".


I wonder if it has ever occurred to the people that design the damn 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 2-3, "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."


In addition, 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 expected to 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.


Talk 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.




Pau.




- hfs

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