There’s no better way to show your holiday spirit than giving back. Whether volunteering on a military installation, donating to charity or participating in traditional military holiday activities, you can make a difference in someone else’s life. Here are four ways to support the less fortunate at your duty station.
Volunteer on post
Volunteering is one of the easiest ways to help less fortunate members of your duty station. You can volunteer to make care packages for deployed service members, wrap presents at the exchange, or sing carols throughout housing. Whatever you do, find something that makes you feel good and is positively impactful.
Monica Bassett, the 2022 AFI Army Spouse of the Year and founder of the Stronghold Food Pantry, is addressing the rising need within military families facing food insecurity at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
“Stronghold’s foundation is to ease food insecurity and to care for our military families. We provide support, resources, and supplies for families facing financial difficulties while striving to preserve the dignity and welfare of those we serve. We’re not just aiming to feed families but nourish hearts as well. Whether your donation is canned food or monetary or simply the amazing gift of time, it will be welcome and appreciated. Additionally, if you choose to volunteer, please help protect the dignity and pride of those you serve. This work, having a heart of service, is intimate, and I encourage others to focus on and embrace the people they are supporting,”Bassett said.
Some military families face financial insecurity that may be impacting their family’s health and well-being. Donating money to organizations like the USO, Operation Homefront or other military and veteran service organizations like the Bautista Project ensures everyone can have a healthy meal during the holidays.
Make an in-kind donation
Making an in-kind donation is a great way to show your holiday spirit and support those less fortunate at your duty station. In-kind donations are tangible goods that can be used for organizations, families, and individuals in need of assistance. During the holidays, military units and installations participate in food drives, Toys for Tots events, and other affairs that need in-kind donations.
READ MORE: Which CFC charity will you support?
Take part in military holiday traditions
Military holiday traditions often include visiting with other service members and their families, exchanging gifts, visiting local veterans’ homes or hosting a unit potluck. You can also participate in events like the installations holiday parade, a unit cookie exchange, or a brigade holiday run.
One military group prioritizes volunteering in the community where they are stationed. The Rising Six* is a private organization of volunteers comprised of E-6 and below military members stationed at USCENTCOM at MacDill Air Force Base. Their goals are to establish positive relationships in the community and fundraise money to support local military morale events and nonprofits. For the Rising Six, volunteering in the community helps build camaraderie among service members and cultivates partnerships with local organizations.
“Being involved in the community builds camaraderie between the branches serving together and helps create a sense of belonging, trust, and friendship within the ranks,” Army Sgt. Carrigann Krawczyk, president of Rising Six, said.
Here are a few tips to remember when deciding how and where to donate:
- Know what kind of organization you want to donate money or items to.
- Be creative with your donations!
- Think about donating directly to a less fortunate family in your community or near your duty station.
You can show your holiday spirit and contribute to a less fortunate person’s life by volunteering at your installation, donating items or participating in military holiday traditions. The holidays should be a time of giving back. Happy giving!