Christmas is right around the corner and what better way to show your holiday spirit than to give? The holiday season is all about giving and is the perfect time for you to show support to those who need it most. It is during this time of the year that I think about how I can best express my gratitude for our troops and give support to their families. To many, Christmas is a time to be with family, but for our troops, it might be a reminder of how tough it is to be away from their families. This holiday season I urge you to get into the spirit of giving and you can start by reading about seven Christmas programs to support military families.
Firstly, Operation Homefront is a nonprofit organization that aims to help build strong, stable, and secure military families through various programs. They have a RELIEF program, which gives short term critical financial assistance for food, utilities, home repairs, rent, etc. They also offer a RESILIENCY program that provides permanent housing and caregiver support services. You can also get involved with their RECURRING FAMILY SUPPORT programs, which revolves around family-centered needs, such as providing meals and toys for the holidays or giving backpacks filled with school supplies to kids. Ultimately, Operation Homefront aims to help military families make life-changing steps toward long-term financial stability. To date, they have managed to house 600 families in rent-free transitional housing at our three Operation Homefront Villages, saved $45 million in school supplies for parents, and fulfill 44,000 requests from military families across the U.S.
Full Circle Home is a non-profit organization that puts together holiday gifts for military kids and surprises the loved ones of deployed servicemen with handwritten “love notes.” You can support Full Circle Home by donating, fundraising, or volunteering to wrap presents. Just a $15 donation can help “Santa deliver gifts,” while $75 can “connect a troop with their hero.” You can also plan a fundraiser and get your whole community involved while raising awareness for the organization. They have assisted over 21,000 troops with sending holiday gifts to their loved ones and with your help they can send even more.
There are a number of organizations you can Adopt-a-Family for the holidays with, such as Soldiers’ Angels. Soldiers’ Angels host several programs to support military families, deployed service members, wounded heroes, and veterans. Their Adopt-a-Family program gives support to eligible military and veteran families by providing them with gifts for their children and grocery gift cards for holiday dinner preparations. You can Adopt-a-Family as a business, organization, or individual. By adopting a family, you can show your gratitude for the services of military members and their families. Since 2003, they have provided over $173.6 million in aid to military and veteran families.
Freedom Alliance hosts a number of programs that give support to the troops through donations and acts of kindness during the holiday season. During the holidays, they have a Presents for Patriots program, which “helps Santa Claus ensure that no child of an injured hero is forgotten on Christmas morning.” Beyond bringing smiles to the children of our service members, Freedom Alliance has created this program to alleviate some of the financial worries wounded service members may be facing, especially on top of medical bills. By providing gifts, they aim to help troops and their families focus on the joys of being together, rather than the hardships of the year.
Operation Help a Hero is holding its 17th annual Operation Christmas Spirit program, which is a wonderful way to spread the holiday cheer. You can give through Operation Christmas Spirit by adopting a family, donating online, donating gift cards or toys, and the list goes on. They offer a number of options for you to get involved and help make our service members’ Christmas extra special this year. One facet of the Operation Christmas Spirit program is the “Single Service Member Gifts” surprise, which is for troops that are assigned duty over the holidays. They aim to help service members “feel the Spirit of Christmas” despite not being able to come home for the holidays.
The Christmas Spirit Foundation has continued to foster the spirit of giving and coming together through their Trees for Troops program. Through the donations and sponsorships of the nation, they have been able to deliver over 240,000 Christmas trees in the past 15 years that they have been organizing the event. In 2020, they are set to send about “14,500 trees to 79 total military bases.” The trees are farm-grown and free for members of the U.S. armed forces. You can get involved by buying a tree and donating it, purchasing Trees for Troops’ teddy bear ornament, or making a tax-deductible contribution to the Christmas Spirit Foundation.
Every December Wreaths Across America organizes wreath-laying ceremonies, held in over 2,100 locations within the U.S. and abroad. This year, National Wreaths Across America Day will be on December 19, during which wreaths with traditional red, hand-tied bows will be laid on the tombstones of our nation’s heroes. The event is a way of recognizing our fallen veterans and their contributions to our country. Their mission is to remember and honor our veterans while continuing to teach future generations about the sacrifices that were made at the WAA Museum located in Columbia Falls, Maine. Some of the ways you can get involved include: sponsoring a wreath, volunteering at an event, offering corporate support, and adding a new cemetery location.
These are just a few of the Christmas programs you can support this holiday season, but giving shouldn’t end when the holiday season is over. Try to find ways you can continue to give back to organizations you care about and to those that have made great sacrifices for our country. Happy holidays to all and I hope we can all help make Christmas a little brighter for others every year.