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Invite a service member into your home for Thanksgiving

Here is a listing of opportunities to invite a service member into your home to share a Thanksgiving meal with your family
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  • American Friends of our Armed Forces (AFAF) Annual Adopt a Marine (Palm Desert, CA) Once again AFAF will offer valley residents the opportunity to share their Thanksgiving Day with Marines and Sailors from the Marine Air Ground Combat Center at 29 Palms. The 8 year program has grown from 8 Marines being hosted in the initial year to the 350 expected this year. Most of the troops participating have recently enlisted and will be spending their first holiday away from home. The opportunity to spend this most American of holidays with a welcoming host family helps the troops fill the void of being away from home for the first time. Host families and troops alike often say spending this time together created their best Thanksgiving ever. Several host families from prior years commented the day with the troops was a life changing event for them.

  • MCAS Miramar Enlisted Recreation Center Home for the Holidays (San Diego, CA) Home for the Holidays is a special Thanksgiving program sponsored by the MCAS Miramar Enlisted Recreation Center. It coordinates placement of single servicemen or women into the homes of San Diego County families to celebrate Thanksgiving. Caring families are asked to host service members who are unable to be with their own families and loved ones on this traditional family holiday. These families are carefully selected to suit our active duty service members and host preferences. Service members wishing placement with community families are required to submit an invitation/application form by Monday, November 17, 2014. 

  • Operation Home Cooking (San Antonio, TX) San Antonio area families can express their warmth and hospitality to Airmen and trainees at Lackland AFB by allowing them an opportunity to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal and family atmosphere.

  • Port City Java (Wilmington, NC)  Port City Java is looking for Wilmington families who are willing to host two marines for a home cooked Thanksgiving dinner on November 27, 2014! For the last four years, Port City Java has organized this event in conjunction with the Single Marine Program office and the School of Infantry on base at Camp Geiger in Jacksonville. PCJ and Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance sponsor the transportation costs and coordinate the 84 area families who volunteer. Volunteer opportunities fill quickly and are filled first come, first serve.

  • The Armed Services YMCA (Camp Pendleton, CA) School of Infantry Home Hospitality - November 27, 2014 @ 8:30 am – 7:30 pm Place Marine students in community homes for the Thanksgiving holiday.

  • Training Support Center Great Lakes (North Chicago, IL) This year, Sailors assigned to Training Support Center Great Lakes (TSC) onboard Naval Station Great Lakes (NAVSTA) will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with local families thanks to the Adopt-a-Sailor program. The Thanksgiving Adopt-a-Sailor is a program in which Sailors are invited into families' homes to share Thanksgiving dinner. It's an opportunity for Sailors to enjoy a home-cooked meal and the company of a family. It has been a tradition here at Great Lakes since World War I. All host forms must be received by 3 p.m. on October 22, 2014.

Here are some valuable tips to consider when you host a service member - LINK


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Thanksgiving support for military and veteran families

Here is a listing of organizations that are hosting Thanksgiving dinner events across the nation for military and veteran families:

  • AIM Foundation (Cheyenne, WY)  Every year the AIM Foundation hosts a Thanksgiving Dinner for our military members and their families. The dinner of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing and much more is free to all active duty, guard, reserves and veterans.


  • Annual Thanksgiving Veterans Dinner by Senator Greg Ball (Brewster, NY)  Every year Senator Greg Ball teams up with the community to host a completely free Veterans Thanksgiving Dinner to thank local area veterans for their service. This year the dinner will be hosted on Saturday, November 22, 2014, at the Putnam County Golf Course with seating’s at 11 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM. Senator Ball and his team are also seeking additional donations and volunteers from the community to make this day possible. Specifically, they are still seeking pumpkin pie, apple pie, dinner rolls, salad, salad dressing and also stuffing. If you would like to volunteer or donate for this wonderful day, please contact Senator Greg Ball’s office by calling: (845) 279-3773 or by emailing mgallipa@nysenate.gov

  • Arena Stage (Washington, DC)  Every year, hundreds of Washington area military families spend the Thanksgiving holiday away from loved ones. In gratitude for their service, Arena Stage will invite 200 wounded warriors, service men and women, and their families to an elegant dinner and a performance of Fiddler on the Roof at the Mead Center for American Theater on Friday, November 28, 2014.

  • Battleship New Jersey (Camden, NJ)  The Battleship New Jersey, in partnership with Camden County Office of Veterans Affairs and the Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders, will offer homeless veterans and active military personnel from Joint Base – McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst and Dover Air Force Base a full-course turkey dinner on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 27, 2014. 

  • Call to A.R.M.S. (Princeton, NC)  We would like to honor our military by serving you Thanksgiving Meal on Thanksgiving Day for appreciation for you and your family! We will have all the fixings, along with great fellowship, crafts for kids and of course football on the big screen! November 27 from 12-4 at The Bridge Princeton Campus! Please RSVP by November 23, 2014.

  • JageR's Beach Bar and Grill (Virginia Beach, VA)  JageR's is looking for volunteers to help serve and cook Thanksgiving Dinner for our military men, women and their families! The date is Wednesday, November 26, 2014 (Thanksgiving Eve) from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. We will be serving roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, dinner rolls and pie! It's free to the first 175 people with a military I.D. card.

  • Pathway Home (Yountville, CA)  At Napa Valley's Bouchon Bistro, it's a Thanksgiving tradition to honor our American veterans with an incomparable family meal!

  • Project Lift (Houston, TX)  Project Lift will hold it’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner for homeless veterans on Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2014. Volunteer needs: November 26 – Food Prep. 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. November 27 – Set up and serve, 7:30-12:30.

  • Soldiers' Angels (Schertz,TX)  Traditional Thanksgiving meal for single service members, all military families and veterans of any era on Thursday, November 27, 2014 at Crosspoint Fellowship Church. 

  • The Chef's Garden and Culinary Vegetable Institute (Milan, OH)  The Chef's Garden and Culinary Vegetable Institute, with members of the Jones family, will host their ninth annual free Thanksgiving Dinner for active military and their families in Milan. A traditional Thanksgiving spread, including a roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings, is set for noon on Thanksgiving Day, November 27th. Active members of the military and their immediate families are invited to make reservations for the meal.

  • USO of North Carolina and UTC Aerospace Systems (Concord, NC)  The USO of North Carolina and UTC Aerospace Systems invite our military and their families for Thanksgiving Dinner at the Charlotte Motor Speedway on November 27, 2014! Contact Megan Grady at m.grady@uso-nc.org for more information or to reserve your spot! Reservations must be made by November 14, 2014! This offer is for active duty, reserve and National Guard and their families! Dinner and all activities are free of charge! (Link to other USO chapters)

  • Valiant Veterans Valiant Veterans would like to provide 20+ families with Thanksgiving meals to show our appreciation for all that they have done for us. Our West Coast team will be coordinating Thanksgiving dinner for many of those remaining in the barracks with no where to go for the holiday. They and their volunteers will be spending their Thanksgiving with these men and women ensuring its a fun filled day that they will not forget.

  • VFW (Hendersonville, NC)  Free Thanksgiving Day Dinner for all veterans and family on Thanksgiving afternoon at the Post 5206 Canteen. Come join us on this day; you are welcome here – don’t spend it alone!


​Here are some events that are supporting military and veteran families with Thanksgiving meal baskets or free turkeys:

  • Armed Services YMCA  Operation Holiday Joy is a program established with Woman’s Day Magazine and their readers to raise awareness and funds for military and their families during the holidays. Since 2004, Woman’s Day and their readers have raised $1,585,979.68 for military and their families with the Armed Services YMCA. Together, we have been able to purchase and distribute over 1600 pallets of toys (over 320,000 toys) as well as deliver over 25,000 baskets of food at Thanksgiving and Christmas to junior enlisted families in need. LINK to Armed Services YMCA locations.

  • City of Doral (Doral, FL)  Donate funds or donate a food gift card to help military families with a Thanksgiving meal. The deadline for donations is November 17, 2014.

  • Homefront America Giving Thanks to Heroes program  Even turkeys want to do their part to help support our Troops! Every Thanksgiving, Homefront America volunteers put together more than 200 Thanksgiving food baskets for our military families to enjoy. In addition to the food baskets, families also receive a certificate that can be used to redeem for a turkey of their choice.

  • Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run (Chicagoland, IL)  The time of year is quickly approaching where we ask you to consider helping provide for A US veteran from the Chicagoland area who is currently facing tough times or economic hardships. Illinois Motorcycle Freedom Run will sponsor this years drive which is dedicated in memory of PFC. Aaron Toppen. With corporation from numerous business, schools, Berkots Super Foods and Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park we will be collecting non-perishable food Items in the weeks leading up to the event.

  • Long Island 9-1-1 Veterans Operation Turkey Drop (Long Island, NY)  Full Thanksgiving turkey dinners will be provided to our military veterans in need. First come, first served. Saturday, November 22, 2014 at the Northport VA Medical Center.

  • Patriots and Paws Thanksgiving Dinner Bag Drive (California)  Your $20 donation will purchase a Thanksgiving Turkey for a veteran and their family this holiday season. Our goal is to donate 250 Thanksgiving bags to our Patriots and Paws families. Join us for the Thanksgiving holiday to support our active military and veteran families by placing a warm hearty meal on each plate. With your contributions and/or donations, we can give thanks to those who serve.

  • Road Home Program (Chicago, IL)  The Chicago Bears and MillerCoors have partnered with the Road Home Program at Rush University Medical Center to generously offer 400 military and veteran families a free Thanksgiving basket, which includes a frozen turkey, canned and box sides, as well as a gift card to use at Jewel-Osco. The event is on Veterans Day (November 11, 2014), but all of the items are either frozen or shelf stable, so they can be used for Thanksgiving.

  • San Clemente Military Families Outreach (North Camp Pendleton, CA) SCMFO is preparing to distribute Thanksgiving turkeys and meal fixings for lower income military families in north Camp Pendleton. You can bring donations to St. Andrew's By the Sea UMC at 2001 Calle Frontera, San Clemente between 9:30 and 2 pm M-W- or Thursday until November 20, 2014.

  • Smokin' T's Barbecue (Long Grove, IL)  Smokin' T's BBQ would love to have your support to sponsor a Thanksgiving Military Meal Deal package for a local military family who has a father or mother abroad or recently returned home.

  • Toyota of Boerne Turkeys for Troops (Boerne, TX)  On Friday, November 21, from 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 pm., Toyota of Boerne, partnering with Walmart and iHeartMedia, will give away free turkeys to military personnel and their families for the holidays.

  • Toyota of Killeen Turkeys for Troops (Killeen, TX)  Active US military, Guard and Reserve get a free turkey on Saturday, November 22, starting at 8:00 a.m. The event will be held at First Baptist Church of Killeen. Bring valid military ID. Limit one per household.

  • Tri-Community Kiwanis Club's Veterans' Dinner (Southern California) For the last 20 years, the Tri-Community Kiwanis Club and Snowline School District students in Southern California have hosted an annual veterans dinner to honor those brave men and women who have and are serving our nation. The first dinner drew nearly 200 men and women and now we serve nearly 2000 attendees! The event this year is on Wednesday Nov. 5.

  • Tully Rinkey And Hannaford (Albany, NY)  Tully Rinckey PLLC and Hannaford Supermarkets provide free turkeys to active duty and retired military personnel with their annual “Turkeys for Veterans” program. Capital Region service members, veterans and family members of those serving abroad are invited to visit Tully Rinckey PLLC’s office at 441 New Karner Road in Albany between the hours of 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 25 to receive a free turkey. (Turkeys will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis with proof of military ID. Limit one turkey per person).

  • ​United Way of Broward County (Fort Lauderdale, FL)  This year 15th Street Fisheries and Mission United of the United Way are partnering once again to help give our veterans and their families a wonderful Thanksgiving. They will be providing 150 military veteran families with Thanksgiving meal baskets.

  • USO of Missouri, Inc. (St. Louis, MO)  The USO of Missouri will be providing Thanksgiving baskets to military families again this year. Donations for dinners may be dropped off at the USO of Missouri through November 7, 2014. (Link to other USO chapters)

  • Vista Motorcycle (North San Diego County, CA)  Thanksgiving is coming early this year and for free for select military families in need. Motorcycle service center repair shop Vista Motorcycle in North San Diego County, CA. is organizing its 3rd Annual Thanksgiving charity food drive benefiting military families in need. The event is in association with American Legion Post 365 in Vista. The charity event and group motorcycle ride is scheduled for Nov, 22nd. 2014, just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. According to the event coordinators their goal is to feed 100+ or more military families. The families in need are personally chosen by Fleet and Family Services. According to the organizers, people are invited to donate cash or canned goods from the event’s list of preferred food donation menu options. 

  • Women Veterans Interactive (Washington, DC)  Women Veterans Interactive in partnership with Helpful Habits will provide Turkey Baskets for 300 veterans and their children. Your support is needed! A donation of $35 will feed a family of four this holiday season. Women veterans are the fastest growing population of homeless veterans and they need our help during this "Holiday of Thanks"


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Christmas support for military and veteran families

  • Able Forces Adopt a Warrior Christmas Program  For various reasons many of our warrior families find themselves in financial crisis, so to give back Able Forces is adopting one warrior family from each of the five military services and providing an entire Christmas to each. Able Forces will provide the families: a Christmas tree, complete dinner that serves up to 8 people, stocking stuffers, and presents for the entire family. (Able Forces will provide each child up to five gifts off a “wish list” the parents have provided. Our military member and their spouse will also receive a gift.) If contributions exceed the cost of supporting our five families additional families will be identified and sponsored. 100% of all donations go to support the Adopt a Warrior Family for Christmas Program. All donations contributed between November 1 and December 15 will go directly to support this program.

  • Adopt A Hero for Christmas (San Antonio, TX)  Adopt a Hero for Christmas is a charity comprised of people who honor and support America's wounded Soldiers and their families who have sacrificed so much to protect our nation and ensure our freedom. Our mission is to bring the joy of Christmas to our heroes and their families. We collect Christmas gifts and needed items for our wounded Soldiers and their families at the Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. We deliver these gifts to our heroes during Christmas and we visit with them. Please help by donating an unwrapped gift for a wounded Soldier, their spouse or their children.

  • Armed Services YMCA  Operation Holiday Joy is a program established with Woman’s Day Magazine and their readers to raise awareness and funds for military and their families during the holidays. Since 2004, Woman’s Day and their readers have raised $1,585,979.68 for military and their families with the Armed Services YMCA. Together, we have been able to purchase and distribute over 1600 pallets of toys (over 320,000 toys) as well as deliver over 25,000 baskets of food at Thanksgiving and Christmas to junior enlisted families in need. LINK to Armed Services YMCA locations.


  • AUSA General John W. Vessey Jr. Chapter - Toys 4 Military Kids (Minnesota, Wisconsin)  Toys4MilitaryKids was founded by Les Hanson over 10 years ago. With Mr. Hanson’s dedicated effort as our fundraising Guru, we were able to reach out to 22 military units by funding their holiday parties, 35 individual families impacting over 1300 children of military families in 2013. We support units and families throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.

  • AVET's Christmas Toys 4 Military Kids Drive  (Melbourne, FL)  Between now and December 1, 2014 you can donate new, unwrapped toys or gift cards for our military kids by dropping them off at The Veteran Owned Business Project’s National Headquarters located in downtown Melbourne, Florida. Help spread some Christmas cheer to our military families this year! Donate unwrapped toys for kids of ALL AGES (babies to teenagers).

  • Coalition to Salute America's Heroes Holiday Gift Checks ~ Each year, the Coalition distributes gift checks to thousands of wounded veterans and their families for holidays such as Easter and Thanksgiving so they can enjoy a traditional holiday meal together, and $500 ‘Secret Santa’ checks that enable them to participate in the gift-giving tradition of the season, and still meet other pressing financial obligations.

  • Full Circle Home  Our service men and women are doing more than their part. They need and deserve all the care packages, love and support that we can give. But at Christmas and Mother's Day, they want to send their love back – back to their wives, fiancés, girlfriends and moms. This program is designed to let our heroes be heroes yet again, by allowing them to send their holiday gifts and a love note to their quiet hero at home. This is accomplished through the generosity and appreciation of businesses and individuals who sponsor a servicemen's gifts home.

  • Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors (Washington state)  Heartbeat has several Christmas morale-building programs for wounded service members and their families. We have a program for every family member: warrior, spouse, and child. Morale building improves warriors’ health. It shows them how much we appreciate their sacrifices, and it tells them, “You aren’t alone."

  • Holiday Hearts for Vets (Rockbridge County, VA)  Making Christmas brighter for those that served us, our military, in the Rockbridge County area of Virginia. Some veterans who are disabled, or aged and just can't do for themselves, or just can't afford it. Also serving newly widowed wives and husbands of veterans, and those who have lost the holiday spirit. We want to help and pay it forward to disabled, aged veterans or newly widowed.

  • Homefront America (Camp Pendleton, CA and surrounding military communities)  Our sponsors never cease to amaze us with their outpouring of love and support for our military families. Their kindness and generosity go beyond the words “spirit of giving.” Their support has made it possible for us to reach out to countless military families during the holiday season with gifts and meals. To ensure that “no child is left behind,” the organization sponsors two different programs during the holiday season. Homefront Santa and Gifts for our Little Unsung Heroes. Homefront Santa endeavors to match sponsors to military families; and Gifts for our Little Unsung Heroes provides each registered child with unwrapped toys or gift cards. In addition, holiday meals for families are also provided.

  • Home Front Hero Christmas Project (southern California)  Our goal is to sponsor at least 25 southern California military families, specifically the stateside spouse & children of combat deployed enlisted service members. In addition we have identified a few local southern California wounded warrior families that we would like to help as well.

  • Hope for Heroes, Inc. (Alaska)  At Hope For Heroes, Inc. we pride ourselves in the hard work and community involvement to provide Christmas for our military heroes (past and present) and their families, who would otherwise go without! We also provide assistance and support to our military families and our Troops during deployments and difficult situations. We believe that supporting our military and their families is not only a way to thank them for their countless sacrifices, but will also bring our communities together. Our staff members are a diverse group of individuals with a wide range of skills and expertise. Our goal is to make a difference in our military members lives, and their families. Don't just stand on the sideline-get engaged in your community. Email us today if you live in or near the Wasilla, Palmer, or Anchorage, Alaska area and wish to speak to one of our directors or volunteer to help.

  • Michigan Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs Adopt a National Guard Family  The Michigan National Guard Adopt-A-Family Program is an opportunity for organizations and families to reach out and support a family. Adopt-A-Family Program, coordinated through the State Family Program Office in Lansing, Michigan, is seeking organizations and families interested in sponsoring a Michigan National Guard family. Families that need assistance are required to submit an application. Applications for both families and sponsors/contributors will be matched up to meet the needs of both parties. It is our policy to give the family the utmost confidentiality and a safe way to receive support. Many service members are serving overseas while their families are trying to make the best of the holiday season without them. Support may be in the form of money, food, or mentorship. Traditionally, families have received Thanksgiving and Christmas food baskets. Christmas gifts have included a clothing outfit for each family member and a few toys for each child. Organizations and businesses who would like to adopt-a-family or need more information should contact the Family Program Office at 517-481-9889 or ng.mi.miarng.mbx.family-programs@mail.mil.

  • Military Assistance Mission (Arizona)  Each year as Christmas approaches, Military Assistance Mission is contacted by benefactors who want to bring joy to the faces of our military families and wounded warriors, showing that their community cares about them. MAM’s Holidays for Heroes program facilitates the adoption of military families in need during the Christmas holiday. Our service members and their families make sacrifices for our country that are not always visible to others. Sometimes these sacrifices can be measured in hours of lost sleep spent worrying for the safety of a loved one or in the number of missed birthdays and anniversaries. All too often what is unnoticed are the myriad of other challenges and stresses these families face: Ongoing pay issues and the resulting financial hardship, the heartbreak of a child dealing with anxiety, or the trials of recovery from battlefield injury. Our mission at MAM is to provide the moral support and financial aid these families need. We could not accomplish this worthy mission without the help of our unwavering community partners. Together we see great value in creating connections between these remarkable families and the communities they live in. Military Assistance Mission is currently accepting applications of both sponsors and military or wounded warrior families interested in participating in this holiday adoption program.

  • Military Installations  Christmas holiday support at local installations may include food baskets, holiday meals, toy donation, fellowship, or entertainment. Contact the family center at your nearest installation to inquire of any opportunities for you and your family.

  • Never Forget Our Fallen (Roseville, CA)  Donate a new, unwrapped toy for the children of our military children (for ages 0 - 17 boy and girl) in support of our 7th Annual Military Children's Santa Claus Christmas Party.

  • Operation Ensuring Christmas  (for Gold Star families)  Operation Ensuring Christmas provides financial, moral and rehabilitative support to the children of fallen American Troops by providing them Christmas gift cards at Christmas and a ‘Christmas in July’, VIP theme park trip to Orlando, Florida. This support is to help them recover from the grief and trauma caused by the ultimate sacrifice a child can make for their country...the loss of a parent in war.

  • Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military  Holiday Meals for Military 2014 is bigger than ever! This year, we will distribute 8,000 meals in 21 locations around the country. Since the beginning (2009) of Holiday Meals for Military our donations, distributions, and sponsors have almost doubled each year. With the help of sponsors and donations our goal is to continue growing each year until every military family can enjoy a holiday meal that they deserve. We are honored to make the holidays a little brighter for our military families. Each holiday meal comes complete with all the fixings you need to prepare a great holiday feast... typically enough to feed a family of four. Military families, visit this LINK to view event locations and to register for an event.

  • Operation Homefront and Dollar Tree Holiday Toy Drive Operation Homefront's 2014 Holiday Toy Drive program to distribute toys and gift cards to junior enlisted military families will soon be underway! Last year, 9 million toys were donated at Dollar Tree stores nationwide. These items and other holiday gifts were distributed to our most junior service members to show our nation’s appreciation and supplement the family holiday. We need your help once again to visit your local Dollar Tree and donate toys to help make the holidays brighter for our military families. Military families, visit this LINK to view event locations and to register for an event.

  • Operation Ward 57  Our goal is to help wounded warrior military families in need with Christmas and Hanukkah presents for their children, along with a grocery gift card or prepaid Visa gift card for the family to purchase their holiday dinner and trimmings. This is a great way to connect one on one with wounded warrior military families to offer a special Thank You this holiday season by providing food and gifts. Sponsor families, businesses, organizations or individuals who sign up here will be matched with a wounded warrior military family to help them have a great holiday meal and presents for their children. Pairing will end on December 6, 2014. Those eligible for adoption include active duty military personnel, career or medically retired military, or those honorably discharged from service who have been injured, wounded or acquired a disease during service. Priority to OIF/OEF/OND era. Eligibility is also extended to the immediate family members if they are a caregiver or NMA.

  • Project Lifting Spirits  Soldier's Santas - Often, when a troop is wounded, the one thing they really miss being able to do is provide a gift for their own child. We will be trying to see to it that every wounded service member in our area has a gift on hand to give his/her child when they come to visit "Daddy" or "Mommy" at the hospital. We will offer this year round, so the service member has a gift for that all-important first visit with their child after returning home, for the child's birthday's and of course at Christmas.

  • Project New Hope Inc. Adopt a Family Christmas Program 2014 (Worcester, MA)  Many military and veteran children wake up with no gifts on Christmas morning because their families are struggling to make ends meet. For so many of these heroic families the holidays can be a stressful, disappointing time…especially for families of troops deployed through the holidays. So, in addition to proudly serving New England Active Duty, National Guard, Reserve, veterans from all eras and Families of the Fallen for over four years, we continue to say thank you for their sacrifice by helping provide Christmas gifts for their children and a holiday meal complete with all the fixings they need to prepare a great holiday feast… typically enough to feed a family of four. Contribute a cash donation and we’ll do the shopping. Please help by donating an unwrapped gift or gift cards to (Wal-Mart, Target, Market Basket, etc.) on or before Friday, December 12, 2014.

  • Smokin' T's Barbecue (Long Grove, IL)  Smokin' T's BBQ would love to have your support to sponsor a Christmas Eve Meal Deal package for a local veteran family who can use our support this holiday season. They will also be sponsoring a Christmas party for children of military veterans. Date to be determined.

  • Soldiers' Angels  Military families usually live on a very tight budget, so putting together a Christmas or other winter holiday celebration can be a real challenge for some of them—Soldiers’ Angels is already hearing from hundreds of families who could use a bit of help celebrating this year. The goal in helping these military families is to show America’s gratitude with presents for the children and a grocery gift card or prepaid Visa gift card for them to purchase their holiday dinner and trimmings.

  • Spirit of Sharing (Southern California)  Please assist us in our efforts to assist our local military community and those who serve throughout the year to help protect our way of life and the freedoms we enjoy. Working together, we can bring the magic of Christmas into the households of our military families’ lives here in Southern California and we can continue to provide assistance to those military families in need throughout the year. 

  • Thank Military Families - Adopt a Family Christmas Program 2014  Many military children wake up with little to no gifts on Christmas morning because their families are struggling to make ends meet. For so many of these heroic families the holidays can be a stressful, disappointing time...especially for families of troops deployed over Christmas. So, to say thank you to the families of deployed service men and women for their invaluable sacrifices, we launched a special program to help provide Christmas gifts for military families in need. 2014 marks our 8th year connecting individuals, businesses and groups with military families in need for the holidays.

  • Toys for the Troops' Kids, Inc. (California)  Toys for the Troops’ Kids, Inc. provides Christmas toys to the children of American military members by public donations of toys and monetary contributions. This non-profit organization may undertake projects in addition to its annual toy drive for the benefit of America’s military and their families.

  • Toys for Tots  Since 1947 the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program has distributed more than 452 million toys to more than 209 million children. This program is open to all children in the community, including military kids. Families can select their state from the "Request A Toy" tab to learn about how to sign up for the program.

  • USO  Your local USO may have holiday programs which may include free meals, entertainment, and toys to military families. Holiday festivities may include Thanksgiving dinner, breakfast with Santa, Christmas dinner, holiday food baskets, toy drives, food pantries, and more. 

  • US Troop Support Foundation (Kansas City, MO)  Please call Linda for more information on adopting a military family .. We have families sign up and code them. We give you the childrens first names and ages and their wish lists. We ask you purchase items from the wish lists and also donate a $100. Gift card for groceries for Christmas dinner. Or you may pair up with someone else to help in assisting a family during the holidays. The economy has been really difficult on everyone and especially on our military families of lower ranks. 

  • Valiant Veterans Holidays for Heroes (Worcester, MA)  Valiant Veterans is adopting the veterans at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans and will be providing each of them with Holiday “Go Bags” containing the essentials they need, with a few holiday candy items as well. It is important that we do not forget our veterans, especially our homeless veterans, many of whom will receive nothing this holiday. In addition to the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, we will be reaching out to many of the veterans we come in contact with on a daily basis.

  • WNY Heroes, Inc (Western New York)  Adopt a Veteran Family - Help us help veterans in need have a special Holiday with our Adopt-A-Family Campaign in December.


Military families, are you looking for additional Christmas holiday support?
Be sure to also visit this LINK which includes a few additional opportunities. If you are struggling with financial needs, visit this LINK.

Military supporters, you may also be interested in our exhaustive listing of organizations who send CARE PACKAGES and CARDS and LETTERS to our deployed service members, wounded warrior families and veterans.


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Adopt a military family during deployment

  • Hugs 4 Smiles USA  When you volunteer, Hugs4SmilesUSA assigns you a deployed hero's family and/or the hero, or military personnel in need of support. You then send the hero two care packages, Packaged Hugs, each month. If the soldier's family has also been adopted, they receive one package each month. More importantly, between the Packaged Hugs, you correspond with them as well. We hear over and over again from these troops that, believe it or not, these kind words--through email, card, or letter--mean the most. They are always touched that a total stranger is willing to reach out with kindness and generosity, when in their eyes, they are "just doing their job." If you or a loved one is facing deployment, or are already in a deployment situation, and are seeking adoption, please contact us. You are the very reason Hugs4SmilesUSA exists. Keep in mind that we support both the deployed troops and their families as well. Let us send some Packaged Hugs to your family back home; they need something to smile about, too!

  • Support Military Spouses  Shoeboxes for Military Spouses, the nation's only program of its kind, offers you a way of saying thanks by providing you the opportunity to prepare a shoebox gift for a military spouse. 



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Tips to locate local military and veteran families to support or adopt for the holidays

Each year we receive numerous requests from military supporters who would like to support or adopt a military service member or a military or veteran family from their community, especially during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. If you are unable to locate events (listed above) in your area, consider these tips:

  • If you are located near a military installation, contact a military chaplain (Battalion Chaplain in the Army) or a Family Readiness Group Leader. Some installations run a Santa's shop program in which donations are received so military families in need can "shop" for items for their family.
                   LINK to directory of military installations
                   LINK to Army family morale offices
                   LINK to Navy Fleet and Family support centers

  • Do you know of any military or veteran families personally? Ask them if they are aware of any needs. Perhaps if you ask around, you'll quickly find someone you know who knows of someone who would be encouraged by your support.

  • Pay attention to local new media to learn of opportunities to support military families.


  • Contact your local VFW, American Legion, or AMVETs - LINK

  • Operation We Are Here also has a listing of local opportunity locators to include state military and veteran resource websites. Contact them to learn about organizations and programs in your state. - LINK


Organizations that
adopt and support military & veteran families for Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays
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Resources specific to
  • Military supporters
  Toolkit, practical insights in
  caring for the military,
  interest-based support listing,
  free Thank You cards, military
  charity check

Military community resources
  • Christian encouragement
  Bibles, devotionals, studies
  Bible verses that offer hope
  Of grace and gratitude
  Prayer
  Word & Worship Wednesday
  • Deployment support for
  Military personnel
  Military spouses
  Military children, teens
  • Downloads and printables
  Brat Town Bugle TM
  Coloring pages
  Flat Brat TM
  Military house ornament

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Copyright 2008 - 2014 Benita Koeman, Operation We Are Here.  All rights reserved.
Operation We Are Here is a HUB of RESOURCES for the military community and military supporters.
Military support is not a concept to embrace; military support is sacrificial action. Visit our military support TOOLKIT.