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VFW: Beware of Questionable Individuals Soliciting Donations

Solicitors have been spotted outside Stop & Shop, the author says.

A few times this summer, veterans dressed in obsolescent woodland camouflage uniforms were soliciting donations in front of on Shore Road.

When queried by me, the solicitors said, "We're collecting donations for local vets." I asked the vets soliciting where they were from – and they stated they were from Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, etc. – I perused the ID card worn around their neck and determined it was a "Department of Veterans Affairs Patient ID" card.

I can verily say that, to the best of my knowledge, local Port Washington vets receive zero funds from this group. I told these vets that they were being used by a questionable enterprise, which gives these vets a "cut" of what they collect each day.

I recently received a notification from the national headquarters of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) that VSO and similarly named groups are being investigated by several state and federal authorities.

Patriotic citizens should be on the look-out for the following indicators that they may be contributing to a questionable vets group:

  • A padlocked plastic pail or box
  • A looseleaf binder for "endorsements"
  • A non-local veteran soliciting
  • A VA patient ID card in a holder around the solicitor's neck.

If the public wants the donation to go to local vets, donate to: 

  • Henderson-Marino Post 1819, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US (VFW)
  • American Legion Post 509
  • Port Washington Detachment Marine Corps League

The above vets groups are local vets, and your donation goes to local vets.

We can not let a few dubious groups get in the way of supporting our local veterans. 

Yours in Patriotism,

John Chalker

Commander 

VFW Post 1819

29 Mohegan Ave

Port Washington, NY 11050

516-767-1552

Editor's Note: The original headline inadvertently referred to one organization in particular, Veterans Support Organization. That was not the intent of Patch. 

John Chalker September 21, 2011 at 09:20 PM
Henderson-Marino Post 1819, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, is the correct name of our local VFW Post. The second bullet point shouldn't be where it is under "local veterans organizations". Post 1819 is proud to have served Port Washington for 81 years now. Thanks for posting this Adina !
Adina Genn (Editor) September 21, 2011 at 09:33 PM
John, that was a formatting error that's been corrected. Thanks for letting me know.
Adina Genn (Editor) September 21, 2011 at 10:39 PM
Editor's Note: The original headline inadvertently referred to one organization in particular, Veterans Support Organization. That was not the intent of Patch.
Richard Vanhouten September 22, 2011 at 12:58 AM
This group Veterans Support Organization www.theveteranssupportorganization.org is a great group. As you say in the article yes The veterans that are raising the donations in front of the stores are getting paid. We at VSO rather have the veterans that need the help raise the donation and meet the donor face to face that are helping them. Not like most groups that hire Professional fundraising for profit groups to raise their donations for them and keep anywhere from 60% to 85% of every dollar raised. YES the VSO locks it's buckets with pad locks to protect the publics donations. We also have bucket ties that are numbered for extra security. The veterans that raise the donations for VSO come to the VSO for help. Rather than the VSO just help them with a donation once we show them a way to help themselves for a while so they can work on bettering their lives. This is working out well. The VSO have changed 1,000 of veterans lives over the years with the VSO work program. We feel the donor would rather meet the person they are helping when they are making their donation. With most of these other groups you talk to someone over the phone who has nothing to do with the cause and who is keeping most of your donation dollar. VSO does not beleive in these methods. When you see a Veteran raising donations for VSO you are donating to the veteran you are helping. Go on the VSO website and check them out. They are doing a great thing for veterans. It's amazing.
John Chalker September 22, 2011 at 01:25 AM
The VSO solicitors utilizing VA Patient ID cards for fund raising ID's is probably an arrestable offense. Telling the local VFW commander the funds go to "local vets" is a lie. One VSO "vet", born in 1963, told me he was a Viet Nam vet. The last troops left there in 1973. Do the arithmetic. My Post which definitely helps "local" vets, gets ZERO $ from VSO. If VSO is willing to help "local" vets ....then send us a substantial donation and get our blessing. VSO website is part of their slick operation. Anybody can create a website saying anything. Go on the Fox News site and play the investigatory video posted there about VSO. I guess I shall be checking the Post mailbox for some time to come before I see anything in there from VSO. VSO should purvey their "schtick" in another financially well-nourished town.
John Chalker September 22, 2011 at 01:41 AM
It's also suspect that VSO can spend $ making sure the donation pails are secure. Padlocks,numbered bucket ties etc. VSO can't spend anything to generate photo ID with name, sex, date-of-birth,height and eye color, for their "vets". My vets don't have padlocks on the donation jars.
Florence Winthrop September 22, 2011 at 09:55 AM
I always send directly to legal organizations and never gave these people a nickel.I was suspect of them immediately ! I also wonder about the "legal" groups as to how much is actually used for the purpose they support. as some organizations have paid directors etc,who receive big salaries. Florence Winthrop
John Chalker September 22, 2011 at 12:02 PM
I agree with you Florence. I can attest that there are no salaries paid at VFW Post 1819. All members are volunteers. All $ stay with us in PW. All books are open.
Ben September 22, 2011 at 03:53 PM
I do not like to be approached for donations by any group in front of Stop & Shop. It is not a good idea to give cash to anyone in a public place.
Eugene September 29, 2011 at 03:06 PM
According to the 990s of the VFW only 64% is program Services. $3,932,990.00 went to Administrative cost and another $26,757,340.00 went to Fundraising Expenses (990s dated 08/31/2010) According to the 990s of the VSO 86% went to program services to me this is a no brainier VSO does more with there money than the VFW, I would donated to the VSO and support there housing program and there work program.
Eugene September 29, 2011 at 03:47 PM
According to the 990s of the VFW only 64% is program Services. $3,932,990.00 went to Administrative cost and another $26,757,340.00 went to Fundraising Expenses (990s dated 08/31/2010) According to the 990s of the VSO 86% went to program services to me this is a no brainier VSO does more with there money than the VFW, I would donated to the VSO and support there housing program and there work program.
Bob L. September 30, 2011 at 10:54 PM
there is a group in R.I. called RI4GIs who had a motorcycle run for the Wounded Warrior Project and posted on their bike run flyer, 83 cents out of every dollar goes to the veteran...this is the Wounded Warriors Claim to Fame... RI4GIs made $6000 on this motorcycle Run and gave the WWP $4000 thats 66 cents on the dollar going to the veteran or to WWP, by the time WWP gets the money, 3200 of this 4000 will actually go to the veteran out of the 6000 raised. That there is 53 cents out of every dollar going to the veteran... can one say misrepresentation... http://imageshack.us/f/191/1warriorsnotforgotten.jpg/
Felix G February 07, 2013 at 12:40 PM
This RI4GIS you speak of works with the VSO in their scam. "Warwick, RI (MMD Newswire) March 24, 2011 -- The Veterans Support Organization announced today that they will be a sponsor of the RI4GI's benefit concert on Friday, March 25, 2011 at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence." http://mmdnewswire.com/kingston-trio-to-perform-33541.html

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