Thursday, April 30, 2020

Gleaners Food


Subject: Gleaners Food

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Good Afternoon,

I have an opportunity from Gleaners Food Bank that could help local veterans.

Gleaners is looking for potential partners for  the following:
·       Receive pallets of 50 boxes of shelf stable food and facilitate distribution to food insecure veterans
·       The boxes are about 26 pounds of shelf stable foods like canned fruits and vegetables, cereal, rice, pasta, tomato sauce peanut butter, and canned tuna and have around 30 items representing about 22 meals
·       Organizations will distribute to veteran households and there is no record keeping requirement
·       Gleaners would like the opportunity to recruit 1-5 participants for an incentivized phone interview to gage satisfaction with the box and the experience
·       The delivery schedule must be flexible and someone from Gleaners will follow up with a schedule if we can accommodate the request
·       There could be two deliveries, with the first starting after mid-May and the second sometime in June
·       Gleaners will deliver a minimum of two pallets with 50 boxes each to one central location. Perhaps a hub and spoke model can be considered for several smaller partners in a geographic region.

If you have a partner that is interested, please make an introduction to me. There are just a few limited opportunities left.

Let me know if you would like to work together to get these goods in the right hands,


Kwesi Betserai, MBA
Division Director
Veteran Services
400 Monroe St.,  Suite 405
Detroit, MI 48226
T: 313-224-5045
Kbetserai@Waynecounty.com

   

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

National Poppy Day Information - COVID-19


COVID-19 and the Auxiliary Poppy Program
We received word from the Department Auxiliary Poppy Chairperson
We have received questions from posts about the 2020 National Poppy Days. This information is being sent to Units in Michigan, but we wanted to share it with you.

If you have any questions please contact the Department of Michigan Auxiliary.


Dear Auxiliary Members,

Many questions have been coming into department about Poppy Days for this year. Our official Poppy Day will never change as it is set by national. This is traditionally designated as the Friday before Memorial Day each year. Your local Poppy Day, (when you offer poppies for donations), may be held on the national date, however, these dates may vary from unit to unit as necessary.

Please remember that there are no refunds/returns on your Poppy purchases.  These poppies are made by our veterans and they work hard for their Poppy wages.  

We understand units may not be able to have "normal" Poppy Day routines this year due to the public safety issues surrounding the COVID – 19 virus.   The safety of everyone is the highest priority right now, so we need to think outside of the box more than ever this year.  Units, Posts, Squadrons and Chapters are encouraged to be creative this year.  Every penny makes a difference in the lives of our veterans.  If you decide to use the internet for your Poppy Day activities, please be careful as there may be fees associated with some online methods such as Go Fund Me campaigns where a portion of the money raised is kept by the host organization.  Any activity, fundraiser or event that keeps a portion of the donations generated by Poppy Day is strictly prohibited.

Some other ideas would include unit mailings or email blasts to our Legion family asking them to send their Poppy donations directly to your unit secretary/treasurer and calling our Legion family to ask for individual poppy donations. These methods also give you an opportunity to check-in on your members and their well-being.

Another option is to have your membership hold onto all those returnable bottles and then donate the funds when they're able to return them to the stores for the deposit. Make it a "Pop for Poppy" drive and include your Juniors and young SAL members.

Our members have and always will be there for our veterans whenever they need us for the next 100 years.

 In service To God and Country,
Connie Kovacs
Poppy Chairman
Check out the Virtual National Poppy Day Facebook Watch Party Friday, May 22 at 12:00-1:00pm.

Monday, April 27, 2020

MVAA Press Release about Regional Coordinators


Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency Press Release
Media Statement
April 27, 2020
Contact: David Dunckel
517-582-5864 or Ryan Engle 517-331-5375

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency has made the difficult decision to end our grant agreement with Allied Technical Services, and thus MVAA's Regional Coordinator Program. Like all areas of government, business and the nonprofit sector, the financial impact and toll of COVID-19 is great, and we must make difficult but fiscally responsible decisions as we continue our services to Michigan veterans and our stewardship of state tax dollars. The grant originally scheduled to end in September 2020 will instead be terminated on May 15, 2020. The main role of our Regional Coordinators was veteran outreach which was severely impacted due to COVID-19, and numerous other programs and policies will fill any perceived gaps when it comes to connecting Michigan's veterans to their benefits.

 While the Regional Coordinator Program is ending, MVAA continues to examine and build ways that it can provide support, advocacy and connectivity at the local and regional levels, in order to ensure veterans and their families have the resources and support they need to thrive during – and after – this challenging time. We will continue to work with VCATs, MDHHS Veteran Navigators for mental health outreach, veteran service organizations and advocacy groups to ensure Michigan's veterans are connected to the benefits they earned for their service.

 If you are seeking resources for yourself or another veteran, please complete the Check on MIVET form by visiting bit.ly/34EvO4B or call 1-800-MICH-VET. As Michigan's central coordinating agency for Michigan's approximately 600,000 veterans and their families, MVAA is available 24/7 to answer veterans' questions and connect them to benefits and services.

###
About the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency: Created by Executive Order in 2013, MVAA's mission is to be the central coordinating agency, providing support, care, advocacy and service to veterans and their families. The agency works with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, state departments, county agencies, and community and veterans service organizations throughout the state. The agency operates the Michigan Veteran Resource Service Center, a 24/7/365 call center in partnership with Michigan 211. By calling 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838) veterans, family members and service providers can get information and access a comprehensive network of resources and services. Learn more at MichiganVeterans.com.

Mark Sutton
Public Relations Director
American Legion Department of Michigan

Sunday, April 19, 2020

IR-2020-75: Veterans Affairs recipients will receive automatic Economic Impact Payments; Step follows work between Treasury, IRS, VA


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Issue Number:    IR-2020-75

Inside This Issue


Veterans Affairs recipients will receive automatic Economic Impact Payments; Step follows work between Treasury, IRS, VA
WASHINGTON – The Internal Revenue Service, working in partnership with the Treasury Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs, announced today that recipients of VA benefits will automatically receive automatic Economic Impact Payments.
Veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments from VA will receive a $1,200 Economic Impact Payment with no further action needed on their part. Timing on the payments is still being determined.
Moving VA recipients into the automatic payment category follows weeks of extensive cooperative work between VA, Treasury, IRS as well as the Bureau of Fiscal Services.
"Since many VA recipients typically aren't required to file tax returns, the IRS had to work with these other government agencies to determine a way to quickly and accurately deliver Economic Impact Payments to this group," said IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig. "Additional programming work remains, but this step simplifies the process for VA recipients to quickly and easily receive these $1,200 payments automatically. We deeply appreciate the sacrifices and service to our country by each and every veteran and their families, as well as the assistance of VA and the Bureau of Fiscal Services in this effort."
No action needed by most taxpayers
Earlier this month, the IRS took a similar action to ensure those receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits, Supplemental Security Income and Railroad Retirement benefits can receive automatic payments of $1,200. While these groups receive Forms 1099, many in this group don't typically file tax returns. Many people in these groups are expected to see the automatic $1,200 payments later this month, with SSI payments expected to start in early May.
For eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for 2019 or 2018, they will also receive the payments automatically. About 80 million payments are hitting bank accounts this week.
For benefit recipients with dependents, extra step needed to claim $500 for children; Register now for earlier delivery
The law provides eligible taxpayers with qualifying children under age 17 to receive an extra $500. For taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 or 2019, the child payments will be automatic.
However, many benefit recipients typically aren't required to file tax returns. If they have children who qualify, an extra step is needed to add $500 per child onto their automatic payment of $1,200 if they didn't file a tax return in 2018 or 2019.
For those who receive these benefits – including VA, Social Security retirement or disability benefits (SSDI), Railroad Retirement benefits or SSI – and have a qualifying child, they can quickly register by visiting "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info" available only on IRS.gov. For those who can use this tool as soon as possible, they may be able to get earlier delivery of the child payments by having these added to their automatic payments.
By quickly taking steps to enter information on the IRS website about them and their qualifying children, they can receive the $500 per dependent child payment in addition to their $1,200 individual payment. If beneficiaries in these group do not provide their information to the IRS soon, they will receive their $500 per qualifying child at a later date, depending on when they complete the registration process.
The Treasury Department, not the VA, will make these automatic payments.  Recipients will generally receive the automatic payments the way they receive their current benefits.
For more information related to veterans and their beneficiaries who receive Compensation and Pension (C&P) benefit payments from VA, please visit VA.gov.
Information for recipients using the IRS.gov Non-Filer and Get My Payment tools
We recognize that many non-tax filing beneficiaries have already begun using the "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info" tool to provide basic personal information to receive their EIP. There will be no interruption to payments being processed using this portal, and Veterans with internet access are encouraged to continue providing information and track their EIP through the "Get My Payment" tool.
General information about the Economic Impact Payments is available on a special section of IRS.gov: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center
Watch out for scams related to Economic Impact Payments
The IRS urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams related to the Economic Impact Payments. To use the new app or get information, taxpayers should visit IRS.gov. People should watch out for scams using email, phone calls or texts related to the payments. Be careful and cautious: The IRS will not send unsolicited electronic communications asking people to open attachments, visit a website or share personal or financial information. Remember, go directly and solely to IRS.gov for official information.
More information
The IRS has posted frequently asked questions on IRS.gov/coronavirus and will provide more updates as soon as they are available.


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Monday, April 13, 2020

Post Election Information - Emergency Provisions


Post Election Information - COVID-19 - Emergency
To: Post Commanders and Adjutants

Note: All documents referenced in this email can be seen here:


Also note: These documents are being sent via US Mail to ALL Post Commander and Post Adjutants residences.

Thank you for all your hard work during this unique time in history. This is not something we anticipated, nor were we completely prepared, but with our military backgrounds, we adapt and overcome. The department judge advocate, assistant judge advocate, adjutant, I, and several others have been working hard to find solutions to the problems our organization faces during the COVID-19 pandemic. The national office has been good at providing some guidance; however, corporate governance law is different in every state, which means we must adhere to those rules when acting.

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with updated information and guidance moving forward for your 2020 election of officer's process. Note we can only provide guidance when moving forward. Each Post is a corporation within the State of Michigan and must decide what process to follow, keeping in mind the executive orders in place by the State Governor. The Department took action to help the posts act in a couple of different ways.

The goal is to make this as clear as possible, but if you have any questions, please call or email headquarters. Call (517) 371-4720 extension 114 for Ron (adj@michiganlegion.org) and extension 116 for Mark (info@michiganlegion.org). 
Let's get started.

Update as of April 13, 2020

April 10, 2020, Department Executive Committee Conference Call.
On Friday evening, the DEC met via the online service ZOOM. There were 65 individuals on the call, connected either by video conference or by phone line. Department Adjutant Ron Runyan called a roll call, and we verified members of the DEC and the presence of a quorum.
The DEC acted on three items:
1.      Department Resolution No. 9 – To cancel the 2020 Annual Department Convention.
2.      Vote on a set of Emergency Constitution and Bylaw provisions.
3.      The fate of the 2020 Department Baseball program.

Announcements first:

·        After conversations I had with the Department Baseball Chairman, I suggested to the DEC that the department baseball season for 2020 be canceled. The motion was made and carried. There will not be a 2020 Baseball program. Teams that have already registered will be notified of the next steps.

·        The Sons of the American Legion Detachment Commander announced that their 2020 Detachment Annual Convention was canceled, and the current slate of officers will remain in place until the 2021 Detachment Annual Convention.

The American Legion National Annual Convention has been canceled.
On April 8, the Department was notified that the National Executive Committee passed via email vote National Resolution No. 3 that canceled the 2020 Annual National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, and the current National officers will remain in place until the 2021 Annual National Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. Resolution No. 3 strongly urged the departments and other Legion Family organizations to do the same. Based on that urging, the Department wrote a resolution.

Department Resolution No. 9 passed.
I have included this resolution for you to read. In summary, the resolution cancels the 2020 Annual Department Convention in Kalamazoo and maintains the current department officers and committee chairpersons until the 2021 Annual Department Convention in Sault Saint Marie. The resolution also strongly urges districts, posts, and other Legion family organizations to keep their current officers in place until the 2021 election time. This resolution eliminates the requirement for Posts to hold an election this year, but action at the Post level still must take place.

Emergency Constitution and Bylaw Provisions passed.
Under Michigan law, corporations may have a set of emergency provisions in place for the state of emergency declarations. Because this type of emergency has never happened before, the Department followed the laws of the state to draft and approve emergency provisions.

These provisions give guidance to Posts, Cities, Counties, Districts, and the Department on how to hold elections under these conditions. Most constitutions and bylaws only have provisions for nominations and elections at a physical location; these provisions allow alternative means of nomination and elections to take place.

What do you and the Post need to do?
Because the Post is a corporation under Michigan law, the Post must decide how to elect officers for the 2020-21 year. With resolution no. 9 and the emergency provisions, your Post must proceed in one of these two ways.

1.      Pass a resolution among the Post Executive Committee members stated in your Post Constitution and Bylaws keeping the current slate of officers in place until the 2021 elections. I have included a sample that you can present to your PEC and if it passes, sign it, and keep with your meeting minutes. OR

2.      Hold an election in accordance with the emergency provisions, either by voice conference, email vote, mail vote, or combination of the three, ensuring that members only cast one vote.

Note: The key to having votes besides in-person is to ensure every member who is qualified to vote is notified, and that it is tracked properly in some form that each member only votes once, and is a member in good standing. 

Keep accurate minutes of the proceedings you follow and how members voted.  Documentation is critical if a member contests the slate of officers and the process; with proper documentation, you will be able to present the evidence of how the committee proceeded. 

Send it to the Department.
After the Post has determined the post officers, even if they stay the same, please return the Post Officer List with names and information requested, the $10 for the Fidelity and Crime Insurance, and a signed Audit Completion form, so we may mail out your 2021 membership cards as soon as they arrive. Please have these documents to the Department no later than June 30, 2020.

Sons and Rider Chapters.
We strongly urge them to keep their slate of officers for another year, but if not, they may follow the steps outlined in the emergency provisions. I have included written motions they may consider and vote on with the executive committees or board of directors and trustees.

Auxiliary Units.
They are their own organization, and information should be coming down from their department or district officers.

Communication.
Again, communication is key during these times; please keep in touch with your district commanders and let them know if you need assistance.

Check out the Department website at www.michiganlegion.org or our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/TheAmericanLegionDepartmentofMichigan/
If you are not receiving emails from the Department, make sure you let Mark know at info@michiganlegion.org so he can add you to his communication chain.

Thank you.
These are unique times, and they too shall pass. Keep checking on your members and helping them any way you can.

Sincerely,
The American Legion
Department of Michigan | michiganlegion.org