(U.S. Air National Guard photos by Airman Basic Sara Kolinski)

Programs to Help Military Families During the Holidays

By Kaylah Jackson - Entercom ConnectingVets.com

December 7, 2018

While for many the holiday season remains a joyful time to spend with family and friends, it can also be stressful. Purchasing gifts, entertaining, even arranging travel can sometimes ruin holiday cheer. This holds true for many military families as well.

If you're interested in helping a family in need this year, or if you are part of a military family yourself that needs assistance, check out this list of organizations.

Trees for Troops

“Delivering the spirit of Christmas to military families—one Christmas Tree at a time.” Through generous donations, Trees for Troops provide free trees for military families all over the country. Last year, the organization donated and deliver over 17,400 Christmas Trees to 70 military bases and 250 trees to four international bases.

Toys for Tots

 Since 1947, the Marine Toys for Tots Program has distributed 548 million toys to date. Through the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, less fortunate children  receive toys during the Christmas season.

Pay Away the Layaway

Through donations from “Layaway Angels,” the organization travels throughout the country during Back to School and Holiday seasons to help families by pay off their layaway balance which often include gifts for children like books, toys, and backpacks.

Operation Holiday Joy

Junior enlisted military families have been able to enjoy over 320,000 toys and over 25,000 baskets of food for Thanksgiving and Christmas thanks to generous donations toward Operation Holiday Joy. Find your local YMCA branch here.

Operation Homefront

While the organization has multiple initiatives throughout the year to support the military, during this time of year, Holiday Meals for Military and the Holiday Toy Drive are in full swing. Military families can register for the various distribution events throughout the year. Meal kits include turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, and vegetables. Follow Operation Homefront’s Facebook page to learn about the dates of their toy drive and how you can receive or donate to a military family.

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