The holiday season can be a difficult time for servicemen and women. Several thousand men and women of the armed services serve their country in nations all over the world and unable to spend the holiday season with loved ones. This is where the kindness and generosity of their fellow countrymen can be helpful to alleviate the stress and sorrow that comes with Christmastime overseas deployments. Thankfully, there are a bevy of options to chooses from in regards to organizations that help these brave defenders of freedom at both the holidays and year round. Listed below is just a sample of those organizations that you can utilize to brighten a soldier's Christmas.
1.) Stockings for Soldiers
Stockings for Soldiers is a nonprofit organization going back to 2006 that sends personalized stockings to troops overseas. People who wish to help the organization can do by applying their own holiday decorating ideas as they send stocking designs to the organization along with donated items for the stockings. Gifts include hygiene items, books, music, hot chocolate, snacks, and socks. These stockings can mean the world for deployed servicemen, especially those spending their holiday season away from home.
2.) Trees For Troops
If you were thinking of donating something a little grander, there's the Christmas Spirit Foundation that donates full sized Christmas trees to both deployed soldiers and their families waiting back home. The foundation was created in 2005 by the National Christmas Tree Association and quickly developed a Trees for Troops initiative. Those who wish to contribute can locate a Trees for Troops location nearby and purchase one that can be immediately be shipped on a FedEx truck to a military base for distribution to a grateful family with Mommy or Daddy away in a faraway country.
3.) Operation Homefront
A major component of the holidays is the big holiday meal which many military families might be struggling to assemble on top of their active duty loved one being away defending freedom. This is where Operation Homefront comes in, providing groceries for those families in the holiday times where finances can be slim. Other services Operation Homefront provide include financial assistance for home and auto repairs, help with utility bills, and pitching in for medical bills. Operation Homefront constantly needs as much in donations and volunteer time as humanly possible, giving people the perfect opportunity for some of the uplifting charity work the Christmas season is known for.
4.) Operation Uplink
While phone calls between deployed military members and their families back home are always precious, they become even more special once the holiday season comes around. Often, the areas that these armed forces members deploy can either be in areas where phone reception is shaky or where missions can take priority over civilian phone calls. With this in mind, the VFW has created Operation Uplink where people can donate prepaid phone cards to overseas soldiers to use to call family members during Christmastime and beyond.
5.) Full Circle Home
Sometimes, a soldier doesn't really want something for themselves as much as they want something for their wives and families. This is where Full Circle Home comes in, helping military members bring Christmas presents to their wives. Common gifts for these military wives include home and beauty items such as bubble baths, various types of lotions, and spa socks. Alongside these gift baskets are handwritten notes provided by their spouses abroad. Giving a soldier a sense that their wife is appreciated and taken care of at home can sometimes mean more than any care package in the world.
6.) Toys For Tots
Finally, the most famous organization for military families has to be Toys For Tots, created by Marine Reservist Major Bill Hendricks in 1947. Supported by personal friends such as Walt Disney, Hendricks and his unit began to distribute toys to children in need. Since that time, Toys For Tots have distributed free toys to military and civilian families with an average 7 million kids serviced yearly. Toys For Tots are always looking for donations of money and toys.