Click on the bold titles below to be linked to the websites listed
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
- Operation Home Cooking (San Antonio, TX) Approximately 330 families in the San Antonio area will have the opportunity to host Air Force Basic Military Training trainees in their homes on Thanksgiving Day. This annual Operation Home Cooking tradition, now in its 48th year, allows volunteer families residing in the San Antonio Metropolitan area (inside Loop 1604) the opportunity to share the holiday with trainees who are in their sixth or seventh week of basic training. Volunteers must be willing to accept two trainees into their homes to support BMT’s Wingman Concept. Host families are required to provide transportation to and from the Pfingston Reception Center, or PRC, at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Pick-up time from the PRC is from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and the curfew time for return to the PRC is 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., depending on the BMT member’s week in training. Host families are urged to consider increased holiday traffic when returning to JBSA-Lackland to meet curfew times. BMT will start accepting volunteer requests beginning Oct. 30 through Nov. 15. All volunteer families are subject to a background check to access the installation. Volunteer host families MUST provide the following information and send it and any questions to Laurie Pozorski at [email protected].
- Naval Station Great Lakes (North Chicago, IL) This year, Sailors assigned to Surface Combat Systems Training Command Great Lakes (SCSTC GL) and Surface Warfare Engineering School Command Great Lakes (SWESC GL) onboard Naval Station Great Lakes (NAVSTA) will enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with local families thanks to the Adopt-a-Sailor program. Host Forms will be out the first week in Oct. and must be received by Tuesday, Oct. 31 to be considered, and families must live no farther than 50 miles from Naval Station Great Lakes to be eligible. The program, a Great Lakes tradition since World War I, offers Sailors to be invited into families’ homes to share Thanksgiving dinner for an opportunity to enjoy a home-cooked meal and the company of a family. In 2022, over 80 families hosted over 160 Great Lakes “A” School Sailors. Sailors on board the base who would like to volunteer for this program are encouraged to talk to their chain of command as soon as possible. Interested families are encouraged to visit the Naval Station Great Lakes to download the application form. The completed form should be e-mailed to: [email protected] All Host Forms must be received by Tuesday, Oct. 31 to be considered, and families must live no farther than 50 miles from NAVSTA to be eligible. On Nov. 14, we will conduct a lottery so that everyone will have a fair chance to host a Great Lakes Sailor. Host families will be notified by e-mail or telephone after Nov. 15. Requests for Sailors of a particular racial, religious background or sex cannot be honored. However, it may be helpful to note if your family will be serving a particular ethnic food or a particular diet, (i.e. vegetarian) and we will try to match those with an individual Sailor’s preference. Requests for Sailors will be limited to groups of two, three or four per family; with four being a maximum. Organizational sponsors are not being requested this year. Families should arrive at Naval Station Great Lakes Visitor’s Center no earlier than 7:30 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day, and Sailors must be picked up no later than 8:30 a.m. The Visitor’s Center is located outside Gate 1, 610 Farragut Ave., Great Lakes. Sailors are required to be back in their quarters at the base no later than 10 p.m. and because they will have to walk from drop-off gates, please have them at the gate no later than 9:30 p.m. Underage drinking is strictly prohibited and it is the host’s responsibility to confirm that the Sailor is of drinking age. For further information or questions, please contact the Public Affairs Office at [email protected] or (847) 688-6558, ext. 128.
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:
- American Friends of our Armed Forces (AFAF) Annual Adopt a Marine (Palm Desert, CA) AFAF’s goal remains the same, providing a very special day for 500 Marines and their host families while honoring and thanking the Marines for their service. You can be a part of the celebration by hosting Marines Thanksgiving Day, 2023. In prior years, host families and Marines alike have told us their Thanksgiving was the best they have ever experienced. This year’s Thanksgiving can be the best ever as we plan for a return of the program to the Coachella Valley.
- Clear Path for Vets (Chittenango, NY and Binghamton, NY) Thanksgiving is a time to surround yourself with good food and good friends. We invite all veterans who might be alone this holiday to join us for a feast at our Annual Thanksgiving Meal. We also ask the families of active-duty members to help us celebrate with turkey, stuffing, pie, and all the fixings. All deliciously prepared by our culinary team.
- First Presbyterian Church (Littleton, CO) Veterans and active duty military and their families are invited to a free Thanksgiving dinner. Every year FPCL volunteers provide a full meal on Thanksgiving to those in our community. We will offer home delivery of Thanksgiving dinner. To order a meal, contact the church office at 303-798-1389.
- Heroes Homestead (Spokane, WA) Thanksgiving Gathering with Heroes - Pre-registration encouraged -Families of veterans, active duty and first responders only. Saturday, November 25th, 2023 at 4 PM Host Location: Northview Bible Church, 13521 N Mill Road, Spokane, WA 99208
- Homefront America (San Diego, Camp Pendleton, San Juan Capistrano, CA) The Giving Thanks to Heroes program is a welcome relief to our families at Thanksgiving. Families receive a full complement of groceries, Costco Pumpkin Pie, and a turkey certificate that can be redeemed at their local grocer or commissary.
- House in the Woods (Lee, ME) Veterans and Community Thanksgiving Dinner, Free to all veterans.
- North Coast Church (Vista, CA) Active duty, veteran or retired – bring your family! You are invited to a full Thanksgiving Dinner. There will be football on the large screen, kid’s activities, contest and raffles and plenty of good food. Please register the family to reserve your seat. WHEN: Thursday, November 23 from 12:00-2:30pm WHERE: North Coast Church, Vista Campus, The Edge 2405 North Santa Fe Avenue, Vista, CA 92084 COST: FREE
- Salvation Army (Hawaii) The Salvation Hawaii will distribute Thanksgiving meals to seniors, veterans and homeless individuals in November.
- VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) Check with your local VFW as many across the country serve Thanksgiving Day meals.
Here are some events that are supporting military and veteran families with Thanksgiving meal baskets or free turkeys:
- Arizona Heroes to Hometowns (Mesa and Glendale, Arizona) AZ Heroes to Hometowns has been helping to feed and support our wounded heroes and their families for over 12 years. But, we certainly cannot do it without your HELP! Again this year, we need to feed 1,600 military families a Thanksgiving dinner. AZ Heroes to Hometowns needs 1,600 ($20.00 grocery gift cards) or monetary donations for a turkey or ham to complete our Thanksgiving food boxes. Your donation of grocery gift cards and/or checks will help our veterans this holiday. Please help by mailing your donation to: AZ Heroes to Hometowns, PO Box 31646, Mesa AZ 85275. We are asking for your help by donating grocery gift cards or cash for our 2023 Turkeys to Troops. Your donation helps to feed one or more families of wounded heroes, families of deployed, National Guard, Reserves, and returning military veterans. It's time to show their service and sacrifice is not forgotten. Too many struggle each day just to put food on the table, but Thanksgiving should NOT be one of those days.
- Battle Buddy Resource Center (Fort Moore, GA) Offers Thanksgiving Holiday bags of Thanksgiving groceries - requires a Fort Moore chaplain referral. Reach out to the BBRC if you need assistance with a referral.
- 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.
- Idaho National Guard (Idaho) Thanksgiving Basket - The Holiday Assistance Program’s intent is to give service members and leaders an opportunity to give back to service member families who have fallen on hard times. The program has been blessed to experience the return of sponsors year after year which in turn helps insure the support to our National Guard Family continues.
- Operation Holiday Joy (ASYMCA) If you are a service member or family member in need, please find your local ASYMCA branch to learn more about Operation Holiday Joy programming available where you live. If you are a business owner or corporate representative and are interested in supporting Operation Holiday Joy, please contact the Chief Development Officer.
- 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) Veterans, Come join us on Thursday, November 16, 2023 (4:00-5:00 pm CST) for our 10th Annual Turkey Drop at the Jewel-Osco, 1340 South Canal Street, Chicago, IL 60607. We'll be passing out frozen Thanksgiving meals to veterans that register and present valid ID. Meals will be handed out in 2, 1-hour time windows. 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. Register ASAP to get the time window you would like! Please arrive ONLY DURING YOUR ASSIGNED TIME SLOT. Questions? Email us at [email protected].
- Sayville, NY (Sayville, NY) Sunday November 19, 2023, 10:00 am - noon Community Ambulance Company 420 Lakeland Avenue, Sayville NY 11782 -- The Community Ambulance Company partnering with Suffolk Credit Union, Northwell Health - South Shore University Hospital, Miller & Caggiano LLP, The Tap Room and Dash Simplified Solutions (DSS) are providing over 150 free Turkeys for military and veteran families on Sunday November 19,2023 from 10:00 am-noon located at the Community Ambulance Company - 420 Lakeland Avenue in Sayville next to the Sayville VFW Post 433. One free 10-14 pound turkey will be provided for the Thanksgiving holiday as a way to say THANK YOU for your service. This offer is NOT based on economic needs. Military, veterans and families should not hesitate to stop by and pick up one turkey each while supplies last. Simply drive up, collect your turkey and bag with other items/fixings without the need to exit your vehicle. - We will be joined by Gold Star Mother Maureen Murphy, mother of Medal of Honor recipient Navy SEAL LT Michael P. Murphy. - We will be joined by Civilian Aid to the Secretary of the Army Steve Castleton. - The Connetquot High School and Middle School lacrosse teams coordinated by New York State Assemblyman Jarett Gandolfo and Islip Town Councilman John Lorenzo will be on hand to give out bags with additional sides and fixings to each of the veterans who attend (while supplies last). * If anyone has any questions or would like to donate a Turkey to be distributed to a local veteran at this Initiative please email [email protected].
- Space Coast Thanksgiving Basket Brigade (Satellite Beach,FL) Our Space Coast Power Team is proud to announce our 14th 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. Event takes place Saturday, November 18 and Sunday, November 19 from 8am until 4pm.
- United Military Care (Marietta and Gwinnett, GA) We are so grateful to our wonderful sponsors and friends who help us each year provide Thanksgiving meals to veterans. Sign up on the website.
- USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore (Arlingon, VA) This Holiday Season, USO-Metro is honored to say “Thank You” to local military families by providing holiday meal baskets in a festival environment! Join us for crafts, family activities and more for the whole family to enjoy through Turkeys for Troops! EACH FAMILY MUST BE REGISTERED for this event. Annual registration is open from mid-October to the beginning of November. Winners will be notified by the first week in November. This program is available to active duty service members, E-1 to E-6, stationed in the DMV only. Command referral may be accepted for higher ranks with special conditions. (Link to other USO chapters)
- Veterans Inc. Holiday Harvest (Worcester, MA) Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at Veterans Inc., 69 Grove Street, Worcester, MA. Open to in-need veterans and active service members and their families. Bring DD-214, VA card or military ID as proof of veterans status. Veterans please register.
- VETLIFE Harvest for Heroes (Howell, MI) Harvest for Heroes takes place each November prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. VETLIFE sponsors several hundred veteran families by handing out complimentary Thanksgiving turkey baskets. Resource providers are on hand during pick up to answer any questions veterans may have regarding benefits. Due to limited quantities registration is required to pick up your Thanksgiving meal.
- VFW Post 5669 (Oneida, TN) VFW Post 5669 in Oneida is celebrating Thanksgiving by offering free meals to military veterans and their immediate families. The take-away lunches will be distributed on Saturday, Nov. 18. Any veteran or veteran’s family member wishing to receive a dinner must call the post canteen at (423) 569-5664 no later than Tuesday, Nov. 15, to order. Callers should register by leaving a message with their name, phone number, and how many meals are requested.
Christmas support for military and veteran families
- Able Forces Adopt a Warrior Christmas Program (Washington, DC) This is the largest charity program we sponsor each year and we expect to take care of hundreds of children and dozens of military families who would otherwise go without a Christmas. Families are drawn from all military services. For various reasons many of our warrior families find themselves in financial crisis, especially during the holiday season. To give back, Able Forces is once again sponsoring the Adopt-A-Warrior Family Christmas Program. As in years past, Able Forces will adopt families from each of the five Military Service branches. All adopted families are identified by military advocates on military bases or military recovery programs in the Washington, DC Metro area.
- Armed Services YMCA - Operation Holiday Joy The annual Operation Holiday Joy campaign spreads joy throughout the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season, thanks to your generous support. Operation Holiday Joy gives Americans a way to show their appreciation for the sacrifices our military and their families make for us and our country. Operation Holiday Joy was established in 2004 in collaboration with Woman’s Day magazine. Together with their readers, more than $1.3 million has been raised to provide food and gifts to junior enlisted military service members and their families during the holidays. Since it's inception, Operation Holiday Joy has distributed more than 25,000 baskets of food to military families and more than 320,000 toys to military children. Many of the ASYMCA locations participate in Operation Holiday Joy. Find your local branch. The Armed Services YMCA is committed to spreading holiday cheer every year. Help us make the holidays brighter for military families. LINK to Armed Services YMCA locations.
- Armed Services YMCA (Lawton-Fort Sill, OK) Help the Armed Services YMCA support our Soldiers and their families this holiday season by donating gift cards! Programs include: Operation Holiday Joy, Operation Santa Boots, and Operation Ride Home.
- Armed Services YMCA (Camp Pendleton, CA) Secret Santa is our holiday program that anonymously matches active duty military families with community members who sponsor the family's gifts during the holiday season. (This event is free and by referral only). Santa's Workshop is a toy shop that allows parents to 'shop' for their children's holiday gifts. (This event is free and by referral only).
- A Soldier's Child S.O.S. Christmas (Alabama, Colorado, Kentucky/Indiana, Tennessee) A Soldier’s Child seeks to be responsible for over 500 Gold Star children having a blessed Christmas morning. There will be caring folks from Tennessee, Georgia, Colorado and Kentucky areas giving back to these children through ASC’s S.O.S Christmas, giving these special military children reason to smile when they wake up on Christmas day. With the love that the Christmas season offers and through your help these children will know that it did matter, and we do care!
- Battle Buddy Resource Center (Fort Moore, GA) Offers Christmas holiday bags of Christmas groceries - requires a Fort Moore chaplain referral. Reach out to the BBRC if you need assistance with a referral.
- 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 Meal Checks -- The Coalition distributes thousands of gift checks and Thank You cards to disabled service members across the nation for meals and other urgent needs during the holidays. The difficulties that disabled service members and their families face can become even more acute around the holidays, particularly if their financial resources are limited. To ensure these heroes are able to enjoy these occasions and are aware of the public’s gratitude for their sacrifices, the Coalition distributes gift checks ranging from $60 to $500 prior to major holidays as Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Since inception over 48,000 checks/cards have been sent to disabled veterans and their families.
- Daughters of the American Revolution DAR members are passionate about supporting our active-duty military and veterans and they do so in a variety of ways. Holidays & Special Events - DAR members plan celebrations for hospitalized veterans to commemorate national holidays, special events, and veterans' birthdays. Parties, carnivals, and picnics for veteran-patients are organized to help lift spirits and provide diversions during hospital confinement. DAR members also serve on community veterans' committees that sponsor parades, and other patriotic events. Volunteers assist with military ceremonies of remembrance that are held at local VA facilities.
- Fort Cavasos Santa's Workshop (Fort Cavasos, TX) Fort Cavasos 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 Cavasos, 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 is a beautiful, but stressful, season for many in our Armed Forces. We help by providing gifts to the children of military families who are struggling with combat wounds and service-related injuries. We help the families of wounded troops make Christmas a joyous time with a message of appreciation for their service and sacrifice. The program is open to combat-injured active-duty service members and veterans who have been wounded in Afghanistan, Iraq, or in support of the Global War on Terror and are experiencing financial hardships.
- 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.
- Georgia National Guard Christmas Assistance Program (Georgia) The application is open for the 2023 Tammy S. McEver Christmas Assistance Program! The Christmas Assistance Program's purpose is to help supplement eligible National Guard families with gifts for children ages 0-15. You must have a qualifying need and the children must be your biological children, or under your legal guardianship, and registered in DEERS. This program is made possible through the generosity of community organizations and military supporters. The deadline to sign-up for the Tammy S. McEver Christmas Assistance Program is December 15, 2023!
- 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."
- Hearts of Patriots Holidays can be a critical time for spouses and families of PTSD veterans suffering from invisible wounds of war. With young children and a veteran, unable to handle holiday crowds, many caregivers add extra shopping and planning to their To Do list hoping to make the holidays memorable for their families. While other families are out looking for that perfect gift for their wife or husband, our PTSD veterans feel overwhelmed and trapped, remaining in the safety of their homes. On Christmas morning, or during Hanukkah, it is the caregiver who often doesn't receive a gift. The goal in helping these veteran families is to show America's gratitude with a gift for the caregiver and a grocery gift card or prepaid VISA card to help them purchase their holiday dinner and trimmings. This is a wonderful way to say "Thank You" to these amazing caregivers.
- Homefront America (Camp Pendleton, CA and surrounding military communities) Each year, Homefront America offers multiple ways to support our military. The Christmas Toy Store brings smiles to more than 2,000 children. The program offers parents of military children the opportunity to "shop" at the Toy Store at NO COST while their children visit with Santa and his Elves, enjoy arts and crafts, face painting, caroling, and other fun activities. The Gifts for Little Unsung Heroes provides 500 children with gift bags filled with a dozen or more quality "fun" stocking stuffers for them to enjoy. Our Single Marine Outreach Christmas program endeavors to make the holiday a little brighter for those who are away from home for the holiday with $20 Gift Cards.
- Honor and Courage Foundation Adopt a Wounded Warrior/Gold Star Family/Vietnam Veteran. Our goal is to help wounded/ill/injured (WII) warrior military families, gold star families, and Vietnam Veterans 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 WII 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 WII or gold star military family to help them have a great holiday meal and presents for their children.
- Hope for the Warriors Holiday Giving Initiative Be a spark of HOPE this holiday season by donating to or adopting a family through our Holiday Giving Initiative. You can become Santa and help us provide gifts to brighten a military child's day. This national program is open to post-9/11 wounded or Gold Star military families that are struggling financially during the holidays. Each service member referred to the Holiday Giving Initiative has completed the Hope For The Warriors application process and have been contacted by our Critical Care team. The application process can be completed on our website. Upon referral, the families are asked to complete a wish list for each child under the age of 18. The wish lists are then provided to interested donors to fulfill.
- Idaho National Guard (Idaho) Christmas Assistance - The Holiday Assistance Program’s intent is to give service members and leaders an opportunity to give back to service member families who have fallen on hard times. The program has been blessed to experience the return of sponsors year after year which in turn helps insure the support to our National Guard family continues.
- La Mesa Military Families Holiday Project (La Mesa, CA) Each year the La Mesa Chamber partners with Liberty Military Housing, an organization that manages over 2,000 military locations throughout the country. They are thrilled to collect toys, diapers, gift cards and other items for children between the ages of 2-13 years old living in the two military housing locations in La Mesa. The Chamber encourages anyone that wants to be a part of this project to bring new, unwrapped toys by Monday, December 4, 2023.
- Military Assistance Mission (Arizona) Operation Holiday Giving - As the holidays approach, there are military families who are struggling to pay their bills. The pressure of providing gifts for their children can be difficult. Every year Military Assistance Mission helps ease the burden and add some holiday cheer with the support of individuals and companies. Without them, the tree may be missing some holiday cheer! At “Operation Holiday Giving” military parents receive gifts for their children, while children “shop” for their parents and siblings at a festive holiday event in December. Holiday carolers, photos with Santa, superheroes, princesses, hot cocoa, sweet treats, and more make Operation Holiday Giving fun for all! For those that wish to ease the burden and bring holiday cheer to these Arizona military families, we thank you. We have several options, you can adopt a family, donate new toys, or make a cash donation and leave the shopping to our team.
- Military Friends (Massachusetts) This year the Ahern Family Charitable Foundation (AFCF) will again partner with the Military Friends Foundation to support “Operation Santa-Massachusetts”, a program that supports children of Fallen Heroes and children of deployed or wounded service members.
- 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.
- Newby-ginnings of North Idaho, Inc (Spokane Valley, WA) 10th Annual Adopt a Family Christmas program in support of veteran, active service member, and Gold Star families.
- Operation Christmas Spirit (Operation Help a Hero) Operation Christmas Spirit is Operation Help a Hero's annual project, going 18 years strong, which supports military families, single service members and unit morale boosting events during the holiday season. We provide opportunities for the community to Spread the Spirit of Christmas and joy of the holiday season to our troops who sacrifice so much for our country.
- Operation Homefront and Dollar Tree Holiday Toy Drive Looking forward to Operation Homefront's 2023 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.
- Operation Once in a Lifetime Toys for Troops The holidays are fast approaching and Operation Once in a Lifetime receives thousands of requests from active military families and military veteran families needing a little hand up and help for the holidays. These requests vary from families needing help with toys, meals and help getting home for the holidays, especially from those families stationed overseas. Help us help those that have sacrificed so much for others. You can donate online, as well as donate toys at our various drop off locations. Donations are tax deductible. For more information on how you can help, to find the nearest Toys For Troops drop off location or to donate airline miles to help fly service members home for the holidays, please email [email protected].
- Operation Toy Soldier Operation Toy Soldier is a nationwide initiative by Veterans Funeral Care to provide toys to the children of deployed and non-deployed soldiers, and also the children of soldiers that have just returned home. On our website, we have listed all of the participating Veterans Funeral Care affiliates will be listed along with event pictures, drop off locations, etc. It is very important to us that you understand that even though Operation Toy Soldier is a nationwide toy drive, all the toys you donate STAY LOCAL.
- 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.
- Project Lifting Spirits Veterans' 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) Project New Hope Inc. (PNH) “Operation Jeepers Christmas” offers an adopt-a-family program. Military & Veteran families who can show proof of need submit their wish lists to PNH and donors adopt the families by purchasing items from their wish lists for Christmas. Giving 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.
- Santa's Castle (Fort Moore, GA) Santa's Castle provides toys to the children of Fort Moore Soldiers who are facing financial hardship at Christmas. In 2022, we assisted over 285 family members in and around Fort Moore. In 2022, we assisted over 285 family members in and around Fort Moore. Santa's Castle is a 100% volunteer run, 501(c)(3) organization. The Castle would not exist without the dedication and generosity of our loyal volunteers and donors who strive to ensure the children of our military heroes receive Christmas gifts. Santa's Castle accepts donations year-round and is always in need of toys or monetary donations. We accept donations from individuals, groups, military units, small businesses, civic organizations and corporations. Those wishing to donate may do so by contacting Santa's Castle or by visiting our Donate page.
- Soldiers' Angels Registration to adopt a family for the 2023 holiday season is now OPEN! Looking to spread holiday cheer? Support military and veteran families through Soldiers’ Angels Adopt-A-Family. Provide gifts for the children and a grocery gift card for the family to put towards their holiday meal.
- STEP Sharing the Joy (Southern California) STEP (Support the Enlisted Project) - The holidays are here and we want to help YOUR family. We are providing financial relief to our junior enlisted and recently discharged families during the season of giving. Gifts must be delivered to STEP by December 12, 2023.
- Toys for Little Troops (based in Raleigh, NC with an outreach to various military installations) Toys For Lil Troops is a program that was founded by our very own Marine Veteran, SSgt Stan Pinkus. He wanted to create a toy program that provided toys specifically to the children of low income and/or deployed troops. Every year, the US Veterans Corps delivers these toys to local military installations including, but not limited to, Fort Bragg, Camp LeJeune, Fort Lee, Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, Ft Meade, Ft Stewart, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, Shaw Air Force Base, Eglin Air Force Base, Reserves, National Guard, and many other locations. We also deliver toys year round to the children of veteran and first responder families in need through the Shop with a Cop and Shop with a Sheriff programs.
- Toys for Tots Since 1947 the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve program has distributed more than 627 million toys to more than 281 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.
- VETLIFE Heroes Holiday (Howell, MI) This program helps bring holiday joy to children in need. No child should go without a gift during the holiday season which is why VETLIFE sponsors several veteran families each year by donating presents to those in need.
- VFW Post 12002 (Georgia) - Operation Santa Started in 2003 by the members of VFW Post 12002, our primary mission is to use funds raised from both private and corporate donors to express gratitude to, and support for deployed troops fighting overseas and their families here at home. So far, we’ve been able to touch the lives of over 5,000 Georgia-based troops and their families; 709 last year, alone. From Christmas gifts for their kids, to repairing broken cars, to paying late mortgages or even buying groceries, we honor our heroes with hope and help.
- Volunteers of America Michigan (Michigan) Heart of the Holidays is a new initiative created by Volunteers of America Michigan (VOAMI). The holiday assistance program will help children, seniors and veterans by providing toys and clothing and something else equally essential: hope. We are partnering with organizations in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing to distribute holiday gifts to families with children in need. By partnering with other Michigan social service agencies, Heart of the Holidays will be able to focus on serving more children than in the past. Without the help of Volunteers of America Michigan, these partnering organizations would not be able to provide holiday assistance to families in need. The program is also open with limited availability to families who live within a 20-mile radius of the VOAMI Southfield headquarters and can show proof of income and need for assistance. Volunteers of America Michigan will still continue to provide holiday assistance to veterans and seniors currently enrolled in the nonprofit’s programs.
- 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 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 standby 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
- Visit OWAH's local opportunity and service locator for state resource websites - 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
- Christmas support for military and veteran families
- 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 - 2023 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.
Be sure to check out these ADDITIONAL resources:
Organizations that support
Resources for supporters of military and veteran families
- Practical insights in caring for
Military and veteran family resources
Operation We Are Here
Benita Koeman of Operation We Are Here is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. When you purchase a product that is linked to Amazon, I earn a small commission which in turn helps me to continue with my mission of providing resources to the military community and military supporters.