There’s no denying the charm and novelty of the winter holiday season. It’s a chance to bring friends and loved ones together to celebrate a spirit of charity and giving. But for military families, this can be a trying time of year, be it for financial reasons or the distance of deployment. But just because military families face unique circumstances during the holidays doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy them to their fullest. There are a variety of services and programs that support veterans and their families during the holidays.
Toys For Tots
Undoubtedly one of the most well-known and widespread support programs, Toys for Tots is run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and collects new, unwrapped toys throughout the late fall and early winter. They then send these toys to less fortunate children in the community. Not limited to just children of military families, any child in need can benefit from the generosity of this campaign of kindness. Volunteers can help to collect, wrap, and deliver toys, acting as some of Santa’s elves in the process.
Trees For Troops
The Christmas tree is an iconic part of this winter holiday. But not everyone can afford to bring a tree into their home. Sponsored by the Christmas Spirit Foundation, Trees for Troops provides free trees to military families. The trees are made available at military bases across the country.
Soldiers’ Angels offers a number of holiday support programs for veterans and their families. One of the most notable services includes the “Adopt-A-Family” program, which allows participants to provide gifts and groceries to a military family in need. Even if you can’t afford to “adopt” a family, you can still make donations to the program to help offset the costs.
Operation Holiday Joy
Sponsored by the Armed Services YMCA, Operation Holiday Joy is designed to help military families by donating toys and food to families of junior enlisted members in need. The ASYMCA uses the funds in the most effective way possible, ensuring that every dollar is spent wisely to help families in need.
Full Circle Home
This non-profit group aims to support the women and men who support the United States through their service in the military. Full Circle Home helps deployed service members get boxes of treats and gifts sent to their spouses. This program isn’t limited to just the winter holidays, it can also be used during Mother’s Day.
Operation Ride Home
Also sponsored by the ASYMCA, and made possible through funds from Jack Daniels, this program is meant to bring family members together during the holidays. Junior enlisted members, or the families of those service members, can request financial help to offset the costs of holiday travel costs. This can make family bonding during the holidays possible even if military families are separated throughout the rest of the year.
This program actually sponsors two different efforts in military bases across the U.S. Holiday Toys for Military Kids collects toys and funds for military children in need. At the same time, Operation Homefront also runs its Holiday Meals for Military program, which connects military families in need with groceries and other food resources to ensure that they can enjoy a holiday feast. The events are run at a local level, so you can directly help the military families in your area.
Look For Local Efforts In Your Area
While these programs make a difference at a national level, there are untold numbers of similar programs being run at the local level. Connect with your local VFW chapter, or American Legion post to see if they are leading any holiday fundraisers or charitable programs. Veterans memorials or groups may also sponsor food and toy drives that are meant to help local veterans and their families. You can bring holiday cheer to those in your community when you stay involved in these local efforts.
Patriot Angels is proud to offer veteran services all year round. We specialize in helping veterans who require long-term healthcare obtain access to the funds of the Aid and Attendance Pension. If you or a loved one needs long-term medical care, and are struggling to keep up with the costs, this pension can make a difference. Contact Patriot Angels today to find out how we can help you.