Whether it’s collecting bikes and toys to help out Santa on his way to military children, providing Christmas trees or hosting parties, plenty of elves have been busy making the season brighter for military families.
Here are just a few examples:
- The nonprofit Trees for Troops distributed 16,599 trees to 71 military locations this year, including four overseas bases and 67 different locations in the continental U.S. This effort has brought 225,319 trees to military men and women over the last 14 years.
- Many nonprofits, such as USO, Armed Services YMCA and others have holiday initiatives. Operation Homefront holds a number of events for military families during the holidays and has a number of initiatives throughout the year, with the help of a variety of donors. One example is Choice Hotels employees, who collected more than 100 bikes and filled 400 stockings with presents on Thursday, to be distributed to military families in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. They also presented a check for $100,000 to Operation Homefront.
- Military units, morale, welfare and recreation, family centers, installations and others have events for families throughout the holidays. And there are many behind the scenes, such as chaplains, who are watching out for military families who might need some extra financial help with presents, food and travel.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.