PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — When filling out your tax return this year, consider donating a portion of your return to the Rhode Island Military Relief Fund ─ commonly known as “the Fund.”
The fund supports active military members and their families in times of crisis, and according to Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee, The fund is dangerously low.
Last year, the fund was able to grant $63,000 to families struggling because of a deployment. Lt. Governor McKee tells Eyewitness News there is roughly $20,000 left in the account, which is solely funded by donations.
McKee said he’s concerned the fund may run out.
“We have multiple applications right now and the current fund is not going to cover the potential awards,” McKee said.
The fund is meant to fill in “some of the gaps,” according to McKee.
“Families can qualify for as much as $5,000.00 grant from the committee that manages the relief fund,” he said.
The grant money goes towards rent/mortgage payments, utilities and other unplanned expenses.
“A number of national guardsmen/women have full-time jobs and they may make less money [while deployed] and that causes problems for families,” McKee explained.
Making a donation
For those filing their tax returns in Rhode Island, making a donation is simple as checking off a box.
Lines 30-36 allow those filing to opt to donate $1, $5, $10 or a customizable amount to various programs across Rhode Island.
Those wanting to donate to the Rhode Island Military Family Relief Fund can fill-out line 36 on the 2019 Form RI-1040.
Additionally, McKee said you can purchase a sticker to put on your license plate.
“If they are inclined to they could buy a flag sticker that can go on the license plate to identify them as a supporter,” McKee said.
The cost is $5 and can be purchased at the DMV or at any AAA office in Rhode Island.
Service members by the numbers
As of December 2019, the Ocean State is home to some 3,364 active duty service members, according to the Defense Manpower Data Center (which falls under the Office of the Secretary of Defense).
Earlier this year, the 115th Military Police Company of the Rhode Island National Guard deployed to the Middle East as part of a scheduled rotation of overseas deployments.
The members will be conducting routine military police missions in support of “Operation Spartan Shield” in the Middle East.