Places to Donate to Celebrate the Season—Military Style
How You can Brighten the Holidays for Military Families
December 4, 2013 by Mark Dye
Giving back to others is the reason for the season, and doing so to military families is a great way to show you care for those who serve and appreciate their sacrifice during this time of year. The following organizations offer ways to give that help our heroes of the homefront. (A list of non-holiday-specific charities you can give to can be found in our blog Giving Back To Help Those Who Gave So Much)
Holiday Mail for Heroes
Due to safety concerns, postal regulations no longer allow packages and letters to be addressed to “Any Soldier” or to particular bases. So to address the need, the American Red Cross sponsors a “Holiday Mail for Heroes” campaign to distribute holiday cards to service members, veterans, and their families in the United States and abroad. To find out how you can get involved visit the Red Cross website.
Trees for Troops
Trees for Troops is a program that provides free, farm-grown Christmas trees to United States Armed Forces members in all branches and their families. Through the dedicated work of volunteers, donations, sponsorships and grants, more than 122,000 trees have been provided to troops and their families since 2005, which is when Trees for Troops began. For additional information or to find out how you can assist go to TreesForTroops.org.
Operation Write Home
Another fantastic organization that lets you create and send holiday cards to deployed service members. This group has mailed more than 1.5 million cards since its inception, and is constantly seeking volunteers to create even more. Learn how you can support this organization at OperationWriteHome.org.
Many military installations, support groups (e.g., Family Readiness Groups, USOs) and not-for-profits (such as Thank Military Families) have ways to “adopt” families in need. Simply grab their list of wishes and go shopping! This is a great way for groups to give back, as they can pool their money and make the season special for an entire family.
Operation Holiday Joy
This program, run by the Armed Services YMCA and Women’s Day magazine, has raised more than $1.5 million for military families since 2005. It provides toys and food baskets to junior enlisted families in need, and you can donate or even volunteer to help at the ASYMCA’s website.
While this organization does amazing work all year round, it does even more over the holidays, from food drives, to visits from Santa, to toy drives. You can find a complete list of their events and needs at their website: OperationHomefront.net.
The great thing about all of these organizations is that they accommodate a wide range of giving options. So whether you have just a few dollars to spend, or a few hundred, you can easily find a way to make the season special for a military family in need.