Remembering Military Families During the Holidays
December 14, 2021 | Active Service Members
It’s that Holiday Season again! For many people this is a joyous time of the year filled with family, friends, and heartwarming traditions. However, one group that endures great hardship, but is often overlooked, is the military family and veterans. Most of us do not stop to think about the responsibilities and pain these families and individuals bear – especially around the holidays.
The Armed Services YMCA is an organization that provides innovative, interactive programs and services designed especially for junior-enlisted service members, their spouses, and children—all who sacrifice so much for us and our country. One of their annual campaigns is Operation Holiday Joy, designed to spread joy throughout Thanksgiving and the Christmas season. Operation Holiday Joy has distributed more than 25,000 baskets of food to military families and more than 320,000 toys to military children since its inception in 2004. Many of the ASYMCA locations participate in Operation Holiday Joy and offer so many other fantastic Operations that aid military members and their families! You can find your local branch here.
If you are interested in sharing Christmas joy to a veteran in your area, consider Elks National Veterans Service Commission. Many elderly veterans do not have family nearby, due to living in nursing homes, care centers or having to be hospitalized, and without social engagement and positive interaction their mental and physical health often suffer. You can find the Elks family all over the nation, and one of many ways Elks volunteers can support local veterans this season is by participating in the Adopt-a-Veterans Program and providing friendship and assistance. The year before last 5,321 Elks adopted 15,067 veterans through this program, recruited 1,516 friends and family members to participate, and spent 40,314 hours serving and supporting these veterans.
There are so many ways you can spread love, kindness and holiday cheer to veterans and military personnel and their families. Let’s all be a part of the solution this season by opening our hearts to those in need and help them find a new pathway through pain and into hope!
Here is a list of other worthy organizations that you can partner with this season to help veterans and service members and their families:
Trees For Troops, Operation Homefront Holiday Meals, Operation Christmas Spirit, Full Circle Home, Soldier, Angel’s Adopt A Family , Soldiers Angels, Toys For Tots, Meals and Programs From the USO, Wreaths Across America , Pay Away The Lay Away, Vets Christmas Ride, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
Sources: https://www.elks.org/vets/, https://www.asymca.org/operation-holiday-joy-2019#:~:text=The%20Armed%20Services%20YMCA%E2%80%99s%20Annual%20Operation%20Holiday%20Joy,on%20serving%20the%20junior%20enlisted%20E6%20and%20below.