DAV raising relief for Hawaii wildfires, Florida hurricane

SWAMPSCOTT — The E. F. Gilmore Disabled American Veterans of Lynn and Swampscott is collecting donations to fund disaster relief for veterans impacted by the Hawaii wildfires and Hurricane Idalia in Florida.

From 12 to 2 p.m. Saturday, chapter members will collect donations for the DAV’s disaster-relief program at Swampscott High School. Since the birth of the program in 1968, the DAV has distributed more than $19.8 million to veterans impacted by natural disasters.

In August, a series of wildfires on Maui and surrounding Hawaiian islands caused severe and widespread damage, killing at least 115 people and leaving 385 missing. According to the DAV, roughly 3,000 veterans were affected by the Maui fires.

Only a few weeks after the wildfires in Hawaii, Category 3 Hurricane Idalia hit the Gulf Coast, causing significant damage and forcing thousands to evacuate their homes.

“The DAV has always been an organization to help veterans in many ways, and this is one of the ways that the DAV can help. People in Swampscott and Lynn are very generous, and the wildfires and hurricane have been in the news, so I thought it would be a good way to raise money and raise awareness of what the DAV does to help,” E.F. Gilmore DAV Commander Jeffrey Blonder said.

In 2022, Blonder said, the DAV provided a total of $2,052,500 in emergency-relief funds and roughly 975 supply kits — each containing backpacks, blankets, and hygiene kits — for its disaster-relief program.

“When disasters strike, DAV and its team of national service officers are on the ground to help our nation’s heroes. DAV provides relief through financial assistance as well as supply kits to veterans and their families so they can obtain basic necessities,” Blonder said.

Those who wish to support the DAV’s disaster-relief program can donate at Swampscott High School on Saturday or mail a check to E. F. Gilmore DAV at 8 Pine St.

“Your gift will help ensure we are able to continue to support our nation’s heroes during trying times such as these well into the future,” Blonder said.

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