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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
- MCAS Miramar Enlisted Recreation Center Home for the Holidays (San Diego, California) HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS is a special Thanksgiving program sponsored by the MCAS Miramar Enlisted Recreation Center. It coordinates placement of single service members 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. 1) Service members wishing placement with community families are required to submit an invitation/application form by Tuesday, November 14, 2017. Forms can be picked up and returned to the The Great Escape, The Hub Bldg 5305 (westside) or this form can be faxed to The Great Escape at (858) 577-4775. 2. Host Families must be willing to provide round-trip transportation to and from MCAS Miramar for their military guests. 3. Generally, not more than two service members are placed with each community family. 4. Service members will be picked up from The Great Escape between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Military personnel and host families will be contacted regarding specific assignments and pick-up times. 5. If you have any questions, or need more information about or HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS THANKSGIVING PROGRAM, contact The Great Escape at (858) 577-6171.
- 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. Families within the San Antonio metropolitan area may invite two Airman or trainees.
- 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 on October 30, 2017. For further information or questions, please call TSC Public Affairs Office at 847-688-4862, ext. 161.
Here are some valuable tips to consider when you host a service member - LINK
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:
- 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 The Pajama Game at the Mead Center for American Theater on Friday, November 24, 2017.
- Bridge Church (Princeton, NC) The Bridge is giving thanks for our military families by hosting a FREE Thanksgiving dinner Thursday November 23, 12- 4PM. Nothing says Thanksgiving like turkey with all the trimmings, pumpkin pie and football on the big screen!! Lots of food and people to share this special day with you! We look forward to seeing you there and are so thankful for all of YOU, our military members and families, who serve. Let's celebrate Thanksgiving together! Not military? Please sign up to serve.
- Christian Service Center (San Antonio, TX) We are hosting our annual Thanksgiving Dinner for the active duty in the area. We encourage anyone who is stationed in the San Antonio area away from home and family to join us for a traditional Thanksgiving meal of turkey, ham and all the fixin's! RSVP to 210-223-4692 by November 19th. Active duty walk-ins (and their guests) are OK if we have the room, but your RSVP will ensure your seats! Thursday, November 23 at 10 AM - 6 PM CST
- Deli Planet (Wichita Falls, TX) Thursday, November 23th from 10am - 8pm The Deli Planet of Wichita Falls will host its third annual Thanksgiving with the military. Free of charge for members stationed at Sheppard Air Force Base. All branches and ranks are welcome. Football, food, friends, family, and fun, with lots of local businesses donating prizes and gifts for the military members.
- Homefront America (San Diego, Camp Pendleton, San Juan Capistrano, CA) This Thanksgiving, Homefront America would like to say "thank you" with its "Giving Thanks to Heroes" program. Families will receive non-perishable groceries plus a Turkey Certificate that can be redeemed for a turkey at any grocery store or commissary.
- Hugs for Soldiers (Fort Benning, GA) Hugs for Soldiers, a ministry of Duluth First United Methodist Church, Duluth, GA, is collecting canned food and non-perishable food items to make Thanksgiving food baskets for Soldiers and families at Fort Benning. Donations being received through Friday, November 10, 2017.
- Olympic College Military Education & Veteran Services (Bremerton, WA) Join the Veteran's Center and VetCorps on November 14th for our annual Thanksgiving Feast! Sponsored by local restaurants. We will be hosting the event in ENG100 Building in the VetCenter from 1100 until the food is gone! Bring your friends and loved ones and celebrate together! Tuesday, November 14 at 11 AM - 3 PM PST
- The Chef's Garden and Culinary Vegetable Institute (Milan, OH) Active members of the military and their immediate families are invited to share in a traditional Thanksgiving spread, including roast turkey with all the trimmings on Thanksgiving Day, November 23th, 2017. Dinner will be prepared by our chef's and served by volunteers from The Chef's Garden, Culinary Vegetable Institute and the community. Families are encouraged to attend, even if your military member is unable to join us. Dinner will be served promptly at noon. Due to space limitations, reservations are required. Deadline for reservations: Friday, November 17th, 2017. Free for active military and their immediate families.
- Warrior Family Support (Wilmington, NC) Come be a part of honoring our heroes by serving them on Thanksgiving Day! We will be preparing and serving Thanksgiving dinner from 11:30am until 2:20pm on November 24, 2016. Want to Volunteer? Donate Food? Find out how you can get involved.
Here are some events that are supporting military and veteran families with Thanksgiving meal baskets or free turkeys:
- Boots on the Ground NY (Ronkonkoma,NY) Turkey and Thanksgiving food drive collection ongoing for local veterans and their families. Boots on the Ground NY works with many veterans and their families throughout the year and we know their situations. We also get many calls for assistance and we like to tell them not to worry about the holidays, we’ll be there for you & the community will be there for you through us. As we do not have the freezer space for turkeys any longer (as we lost two big freezers to age), we are looking to have food gift cards donated so that we can distribute these to veterans and allow them to do the shopping for their Thanksgiving (stores such as King Kullen, Stop &Shop, Shoprite, Best Market). These food cards can be dropped off at the VAC during monthly posted collections dates or mailed to PO Box 675 Bellport NY 11713. We are hoping by putting this out early, that groups and organization will jump on board and create fundraisers of their own to collect the gift cards.
- 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 250 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.
- Hugs for Soldiers (Fort Benning, GA) Hugs for Soldiers is collecting canned food and non-perishable food items to make Thanksgiving food baskets for Soldiers and Families at Fort Benning through the Battle Buddy Resource Center. The Center is a food bank ministry of the Fort Benning Chaplains and ministry outreach to the Fort Benning community.
- Military Assistance Mission (Arizona) Military Assistance Mission and Southwest Gas Corporation want our military members to enjoy their Thanksgiving as much as possible! By providing food for our Arizona military, we hope to help reduce some of the stress involved in planning the perfect holiday. To participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org with the required information BY NOVEMBER 15.
- North Coast Church (Vista, CA) Thanksgiving Day will begin with a family 5K Turkey Trot. That afternoon we provide a full Thanksgiving meal with activities for the whole family and football on the big screen!
- Operation Homefront Various organizations are teaming up with Operation Homefront to provide military service members and their families a Thanksgiving dinner.
- Road Home Program (Chicago, IL) Come join us for our 4th Annual Turkey Drop at the Jewel-Osco on South Canal Street! We'll be passing out frozen Thanksgiving meals to veterans that register and present valid ID, and have some representatives from the Chicago Bears on site for a meet and greet! Meals will be handed out in 4 1-hour time windows and printed/digital tickets must be presented along with valid ID at time of pick-up. Time windows will be selected during registration, with limited availability for each 1-hour block, so sign up ASAP to get the time window you'd like! Our friends at MillerCoors will be providing the meals, so be sure to give them a big THANK YOU when you arrive to pick up your meal!. The event is on Tuesday, November 16, 2017 from 5:30 PM to 9:30 PM (CST).
- **San Clemente Military Families Outreach (awaiting 2017 info) (North Camp Pendleton, CA) SCMFO's annual Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner Giveaway to military families is scheduled to take place at the San Onofre commissary. More details to follow.
- 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.
- Space Coast Thanksgiving Basket Brigade (Satellite Beach,FL) Our Space Coast Power Team is proud to announce our 8th Annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade! The Space Coast Basket Brigade is a family run non-profit that is dedicated to supporting families in need in our local community. Our Annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade is our main event and we are happy to say grows exponentially each year!! Who receives a basket? Families who have fallen on hard times due to low income, loss of income, death in the family, or illness. active and veteran military families and families living in shelters. We work with many local schools, churches, and organizations to find the families and also accept personal nominations. We also deliver over 150 In Transition Baskets to families who are living in hotels, shelters, parks, tents, or homeless. Event takes place Sunday, November 19 from 10am - 3pm.
- Tri-Community Kiwanis Club's Veterans' Dinner (Southern California) For the last 23 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, October 18 at Serrano High School. Tickets are now available at both branches of DCB, Pizza Factory and McDonalds.
- United Military Care (Atlanta and Hinesville, GA) Are you a military or veteran family in need of a little help for Thanksgiving? Pre-register to pick up meal ingredients for Thanksgiving in Marietta and Hinesville.
- Veterans Coalition of North Central Texas Thanksgiving4Veterans (Dallas, TX) It's time for our annual turkey toss! This year we will give 250 turkeys along with side items and resources, to our veterans and their families. Please register and choose one or the other. Saturday, November 18, 2017 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM (CST)
- 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"
Invite a service member into your home for Christmas
- MCAS Miramar Enlisted Recreation Center Home for the Holidays (San Diego, California) HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS is a special Thanksgiving program sponsored by the MCAS Miramar Enlisted Recreation Center. It coordinates placement of single service members 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. 1) Service members wishing placement with community families are required to submit an invitation/application form by Wednesday, November 16, 2016. Forms can be picked up and returned to the The Great Escape, The Hub Bldg 5305 (westside) or this form can be faxed to The Great Escape at (858) 577-4775. 2. Host Families must be willing to provide round-trip transportation to and from MCAS Miramar for their military guests. 3. Generally, not more than two service members are placed with each community family. 4. Service members will be picked up from The Great Escape between 10:00 am and 1:00 pm. Military personnel and host families will be contacted regarding specific assignments and pick-up times. 5. If you have any questions, or need more information about or HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS THANKSGIVING PROGRAM, contact The Great Escape at (858) 577-6171.
Christmas support for military and veteran families
- Able Forces Adopt a Warrior Christmas Program (Washington, DC) Many of our warrior families are in financial crisis this holiday season. Able Forces is adopting at least one warrior family in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area 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, 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. All donations contributed between 1 October and 15 December will go directly to support this program.
- Adopt a Family Michigan (Volunteers of America) (Michigan) Volunteers of America Michigan’s Adopt A Family program helps families with children, seniors and veterans by providing food, toys and clothing. The Adopt A Family program connects those who can help with those who need help. This Volunteers of America program is an opportunity for individuals, teams, companies and organizations to reach out and lift up those in need, either through direct adoption or financial contribution.
- 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 Help make the holidays brighter for military families. We are continuing to see an increased need in both demand and support for this program. These young heroes and their families are voluntarily serving and sacrificing daily so we can continue to enjoy our freedoms and way of life. Your support demonstrates an appreciation for the sacrifices required of these dedicated defenders of our country. We look forward to receiving your support to continue making military life easier this holiday, and every holiday season. Happy 13 year Anniversary Operation Holiday Joy! Operation Holiday Joy was initially established in collaboration with Woman’s Day Magazine and their readers to raise awareness and funds for military service members and their families during the holidays. Since 2004, Operation Holiday Joy supporters have donated more than $1.7 million for military and their families. YOUR generosity has allowed us to purchase and distribute more than 320,000 toys as well as deliver over 25,000 baskets of food for Thanksgiving and Christmas to junior enlisted families in need. LINK to Armed Services YMCA locations.
- Armed Services YMCA (Camp Pendleton, CA) Secret Santa - The Christmas program matches San Diego County businesses, civic organizations and community members with command referred, junior enlisted families needing help during the holiday season. It provides the community an opportunity to give back to our military families. We are grateful to our community sponsors providing toys and bicycles in order to make our family's Christmas possible. Santa’s Workshop differs from Secret SANTA as it is open to all ranks who need a little extra help and support during the holidays.
- A Soldier's Child Family to Family Christmas (Fort Campbell, KY) A Soldier’s Child started its Family to Family Christmas program to give back to the families of our servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much. Lost in the busyness of the Christmas season are the children of those who serve, who sometimes wake up Christmas morning missing mom or dad and perhaps not understanding why they can’t be there. Another question the children of a military family ask is “does anyone even care all our family goes through?” With your help, almost 1800 young children from nearby Ft. Campbell might have a reason to smile when they wake on Christmas day. And with the love that the Christmas season offers, these children will know that the people their mom or dad protects, honors them.
- 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, 55 individual families impacting over 1500 children of military families in 2015. We support units and families throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin.
- Believe with Me Our American Gold Star Christmas project gives grateful Americans the opportunity to let our Gold Star kids know that they are remembered during the challenging Christmas season.
- 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.
- Family to Family Christmas - A Soldier's Child (Ft. Campbell, KY) A Soldier’s Child started its Family to Family Christmas program to give back to the families of our servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much. Lost in the busyness of the Christmas season are the children of those who serve – who sometimes wake up Christmas morning missing mom or dad and perhaps not understanding why they can’t be there. Another question the children of a military family ask is “does anyone even care all our family goes through”. With your help, well over a 1500 young children from nearby Ft. Campbell might have a reason to smile when they wake on Christmas day. And with the love that the Christmas season offers, these children will know that the people their mom or dad protects, honors them.
- Fort Hood Santa's Workshop (Fort Hood, TX) Fort Hood Santa's Workshop is a non-profit organization. We were created exclusively for charitable purposes as a unit-level (13thCOSCOM) initiative. Out of necessity, it grew into an installation-level project in 1998. Too often soldiers face unique financial stress. We don't want military kids to feel that stress. Our mission is to make new toys accessible for children of the Fort Hood military community during the holiday season. In times of financial crisis Christmas presents may be a luxury. Our military kids deserve an amazing holiday. And who knows the needs of individual children better than their parents? At Santa's Workshop Fort Hood, the parents browse our well-stocked shelves to make the most appropriate selection from brand new toys, games and books for their children.
- Freedom Alliance Presents for Patriots Christmas can be bittersweet for families depending on their circumstances and this is no less true for those who serve in our nation’s armed forces. There might be a family member deployed overseas during the holiday, or perhaps their loved one has returned not quite the same as when he or she left. Financial crisis, time constraints, and other stresses can make Christmas a cause for anxiety and sorrow rather than celebration for our military families. As difficult as these situations can be, this need creates an advantageous time to demonstrate goodwill for our heroes at home. The Freedom Alliance Presents for Patriots program is our way to give each home in hardship the assistance they need. Working with contacts at bases across the country, families are identified and put in touch with us. We work with these families to ensure every gift is special and that each child receives the Christmas they deserve. Last year, we were able to take on 53 families, impacting all together 231 people and this year our goal is to provide Christmas for 75 families!There many ways you can be involved this year, for more information contact Jennifer Ohman at jen.ohman (at) freedomalliance.org.
- 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.
- Grateful Hearts (Los Alamitos, CA) Our volunteers are already busy organizing our Christmas room and filling bags for local military families. We have hundreds of families that will need sponsoring this Christmas to insure that their children don’t go without. If you are interested in adopting a family or holding a toy or food drive, please contact us.
- 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) Each year, the Homefront America Christmas programs help to make the holiday a little brighter for military families. Our Christmas Toy Store offers parents of military children the opportunity to "shop" at the Toy Store at NO COST to them, while their children enjoy lunch with Santa and his Elves, arts and crafts, activities, face painting, and caroling. In addition, our volunteers fill 1000 gift bags with a dozen or more quality "fun toys" for the children to enjoy. And, with the support of our partners, Noble Viking Charities of Orange County, 150 families benefit from generous offerings of holiday food boxes.
- 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.
- Impact a Hero (Maryland, Florida, Texas) Many of our wounded heroes are unable to get home during the holidays. Impact A Hero has designed a holiday support program where we host Christmas and holiday parties for our wounded heroes at: Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD; James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, FL; and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX.
- Lincoln Apartments Adopt-A-Vet Holiday Program (Indianapolis, IN) Lincoln Apartments is a 75 unit apartment complex built for veterans who are homeless, have a disability and have little or no income. Many of the veterans who live at Lincoln Apartments have no family go spend the holiday with. For this reason, the Lincoln Veteran Residents Council has started an 'Adopt a Veteran for the Holiday Program. The LVRC has approximately 15 veterans that we still need to match with a sponsor. For more information click here - Link
- Marshalltown Central Business District Adopt-a-Vet Program (Marshalltown, IA) The Marshalltown Central Business District is asking the public to make a difference in the lives of some of our local veterans. The “Adopt-a-Vet” program is seeking gifts and cash donations for veterans who have no family at all for Christmas. Participants can stop by and pick up a star with a veteran’s name and two gift options they have asked for at Hellberg’s Jewelers, Black Tire Bike Company or McGregor’s Furniture. There are also cash boxes at different locations where donors can make gift offerings that will allow veterans to purchase items through the Canteen at the Iowa Veterans Home. MCBD wants to pick up cash and gift donations by Monday, Dec. 4 in order for the cash and presents to be available at the veterans party slated for Dec. 10.
- Michigan Dept. of Military and Veterans Affairs Adopt a National Guard Family (Michigan) 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 email@example.com.
- 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.
- Mountain Post Santa's Workshop (Fort Carson, CO) The mission of Mountain Post Santa's Workshop is to provide toys, books, and games for children of Military families on The Mountain Post, in financial need, during the holiday season. Many of the recipients would not be able to provide any toys for their children without the help of the wonderful supporters and donors of Santa’s Workshop. Our organization is run solely by volunteers. Volunteers work year round in order to purchase, raise funds, organize, inventory, and select families that require assistance.
- Operation Christmas Spirit (Operation Help a Hero) Operation Christmas Spirit is Operation Help a Hero's annual project which supports local military families in the form of holiday gratitude. Through Operation Christmas Spirit we: "adopt" over 100 families and fulfill their Christmas wish lists with gifts for all family members and gift cards to do their own shopping, sponsor gifts and crafts at unit holiday parties for military children, "adopt" single Marines and Sailors, giving them gifts and gifts cards to celebrate whether near or far from their families, and work with businesses, schools, churches, small groups and individuals who want to spread the joy of Christmas to those who serve our country.
- Operation Homefront Holiday Meals for Military Our Holiday Meals for Military events provide holiday meal kits which include everything needed for a holiday dinner, including a meat option, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and vegetables. Registration is now open. Military families, visit this LINK to view event locations and to register for an event. Be sure to follow Operation Homefront on Facebook for updates regarding this event: www.facebook.com/OperationHomefront
- Operation Homefront and Dollar Tree Holiday Toy Drive Looking forward to Operation Homefront's 2017 HOLIDAY TOY DRIVE as we distribute toys and gift cards to hundreds of military kids! Millions of toys were donated at Dollar Tree stores nationwide. These items and other holiday gifts were distributed, through our events and local FRGs and community events, to our most junior service members to show our Nation’s appreciation and supplement the family holiday. Military families, visit this LINK to view event locations and to register for an event.
- Operation Ward 57 Holidays can be particularly difficult for patients who are unable to leave the wards or hospital. OPW57 creates morale and spirit boosting events and gifts for patients, families and staff. With your support we have been able to provide live music directly on the ward and for outpatient families, flowers, hot catered meals, gift bags, toys, gift baskets and more throughout the year.
- Operation Ward 57 Adopt A Wounded Warrior/Gold Star Family 2017 Our goal is to help wounded warrior military families and Gold Star 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 or gold star 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 or Gold Star military family to help them have a great holiday meal and presents for their children. Those eligible for adoption include U.S. Based 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 with a 50% or higher service connection. Priority to post 9/11 service members & Gold Star families. Eligibility is also extended to the immediate family members if they are a caregiver or NMA. Post 9/11 Gold Star families are also welcome to apply.
- 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. - Operation Jeepers Christmas (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 five 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.). During November 1-30, 2017 all Active-Duty, Coast Guard, National Guard, Reserve, Military & Veteran families who can show proof of need submit their wish lists to PNH. Presents will be picked up by the families on or about December 16th, 2017.
- 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) Spirit Of Sharing provides need based assistance to our local active duty military families (and some veterans) during the holiday season and throughout the year in emergencies.
- 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.
- United Military Care (Atlanta and Hinesville, GA) Are you a military or veteran family in need of Christmas holiday assistance? Pre-register to attend the Christmas store.
- 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.
- Valiant Veterans Holidays for Heroes (Worcester, MA) November is coming to a close quickly and the holidays are fast approaching us and we must never forget those that have sacrificed their lives for our ability to enjoy holidays with our loved ones. This year, Valiant Veterans is adopting the veterans in several communities and will be providing each of them with Holiday “Go Bags” containing the essentials they need, with a few holiday candy items as well. We will also be working with several towns who have identified military families in need of holiday gifts. It is important that we do not forget our veterans, especially our homeless veterans, many of whom will receive nothing this holiday. Please join us in Loving our Veterans to Life this holiday season and reminding them they are not forgotten!
- Veterans Center (Atlanta, GA) Saturday, December 23, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM join us as Veterans Center prepare for our biggest outreach event of the year!!! Veterans Center Christmas Celebration will help raise funds for veterans who are homeless, disabled, and those veterans who cannot afford to sustain over the holiday season while we give away toys for the holiday season. With your help, we can provide Christmas to hundreds of area kids who without your help normally wouldn't have presents under the tree. Call Veterans Center at 678-792-VETS(8387) if you are able to help us collect toys or make a donation today. With your help, we CAN make a difference to hundreds of kids!
- 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.
Adopt a military family during deployment
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.
Adopt a military family in need of financial help
See also this listing of agencies that offer financial support - LINK
Operation: Care and Comfort (San Francisco Bay area and California)
Since 2005, Operation: Care and Comfort's "Adopt a Military Family" program has assisted San Francisco Bay Area and California military families for one time support. The Bay Area is one of the most expensive areas in the country to live, and many military families struggle just to purchase groceries, gasoline and other essentials.
Civilian families, companies, and organizations may ask to be on a stand by list to anonymously assist a local military family that is brought to our attention by a military liaison. If you or your organization is selected to help, the civilian family (or company or organization) will work through the military liaison to help the military family on a one time basis with their specific need.
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, AMVETs, or DAV - 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 the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays
Scroll down for more information about:
- Invite a service member into your home for Thanksgiving
- Thanksgiving support (meals or free turkeys) for military and veteran families
- Invite a service member into your home for Christmas
- Christmas support for military and veteran families
- Adopt a military family during deployment
- Adopt a military family in need of financial help
- Tips to locate local military and veteran families to support or "adopt" for the holidays
Copyright 2008 - 2017 Benita Koeman, Operation We Are Here. All rights reserved.
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Listing of Veterans Day books for kids - LINK Listing of Memorial Day books for kids - LINK Listing of books about the military for kids - LINK
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Best of 2016
Be sure to check out these ADDITIONAL resources:
Organizations that support