Senator Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C, Elma) is co-sponsoring legislation aimed at helping organizations such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, hurt financially by the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill (S.8504) would establish a grant program where veterans service organizations (VSO) could apply for funding.
Many of these chartered organizations are struggling financially because of lost revenue associated with the pandemic. Lockdowns and other restrictions over the past two years prevented the groups from holding fundraising events, such as bingo games, and drastically reduced other sources of income, including banquet hall rentals.
“American Legion posts, VFW’s and other veteran related organizations across the state are important social gathering places for those who have served our country in the military,” Senator Gallivan said. “These organizations also provide vital services to veterans, their families and the community at large, but many have lost revenue through no fault of their own because of the pandemic. The state has an obligation to help those who support our veterans and ensure these organizations are able to continue operations.”
The legislation would establish the Veterans Service Organizations COVID-19 Relief Act and would create a fund under the Empire State Development Corporation. VSO’s could use the grants to help pay rent, utilities, debt payments or other business expenses.
The bill has been sent to the Senate’s Finance Committee for review.