armoryIn 2005 the MFSC was established by local military personnel and veterans in Roanoke Virginia. These individuals (members of the Virginia National Guard and members of the local Reserve Units) noted that while the number of local personnel deployed increased, the number of local support programs and contacts remained static.[1]  The MFSC immediately began to develop a local network of veterans and military supporters, who understood the unique needs of rural military families thrust into the disarray of deployments.

To this day there does not exist the safety net of a large nearby military base mitigate the growing needs of military families and veterans in our region.

The founding of the MFSC correlates to the first deployment of the 116 Virginia National Guard in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.  Due to this relationship, from September 2004 to June of 2005, the MFSC worked out of the National Guard Armory on Reserve Avenue in Roanoke, home of the deployed 116th solders.

american legionAs the MFSC grew in reputation and outreach, the organization moved downtown until June 2007, when the MFSC was invited to the Salem American Legion Post 3.  The MFSC stayed at the American Legion location until June of 2010, when we again outgrew our facility.  Since 2010 the MFSC has been in its current location in the CommUNITY Church located at 901 Russell Drive in Salem, Virginia.

community churchFrom 2012 to 2014, the MFSC headquartered in Salem, Virginia began to grow its service area footprint.  The MFSC Military Appreciation game in Salem was expanded to other localities such as Lynchburg, Pulaski, Bluefield, Virginia and to Akron, Ohio.  In 2015 Princeton, West Virginia was added to the list.

The MFSC began a Mobile Exchange program in 2012 to provide Exchange services to families living outside of the Salem Virginia area.  Utilizing moving trucks and rental vans we were able to create a mobile exchange support network throughout Southwestern Virginia.

20160115_073156In the summer of 2015 the Military Family Support Centers, Inc moved to Roanoke, Virginia to take 20160121_071333up residence in the Blue Ridge PBS Station.  After a short closure the Food Pantry was also reopened in Roanoke at Calvary Chapel in 2016.  With our new locations we are able to operate with less overhead and put more money back into our local military community.

With this growth, the focus of the MFSC has evolved from being a reactionary to a proactive organization.  The mission now is to be a resource of information about local organizations that can offer benefits and services to military families.  Our goal is for MFSC referrals to help prevent and reduce the instances of emergency assistance needed by military families of active duty personnel and veterans residing in SW Virginia.

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[1] From 2001 to 2011, 28% of 2.3 million sent to Afghanistan have been members of the Reserve or National Guard. This total does not reflect the numbers deployed to Iraq, Africa, Eastern Europe, or in support of domestic mission or local disaster relief.

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