Active-duty service members E-4 and below can receive vouchers and gift cards worth hundreds of dollars toward holiday travel for themselves and their family members via Operation Ride Home, now entering its seventh year.

Applications for the program, which is run via a partnership between the Armed Forces YMCA and Jack Daniel’s, are available for download here. The program has helped more than 5,700 military-connected travelers, included 2,669 junior enlisted members, with expenses since its launch, according to a news release.

Program officials award either airline (up to $400 per ticket) or motor vehicle ($100 gift cards, one per traveler) aid on a need-based system, per the release. Service members must be stationed near a participating armed Armed Forces YMCA location, or serving in Alaska or Hawaii, to be eligible. Participating locations are:

  • Altus and Lawton-Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
  • Camp Pendleton, San Diego and Twentynine Palms, California.
  • El Paso and Killeen, Texas.
  • Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
  • Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
  • Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
  • Hampton Roads, Virginia.

(Unsure if you’re close enough to qualify? Click on the Frequently Asked Questions link here for the full list of eligible installations.)

Families members also can apply if their service member is deployed or otherwise prevented from traveling by military duty. Commands will help program officials choose the beneficiaries.

Other restrictions: Families must be driving more than 350 miles to be eligible for the $100-per-person gift cards, all selectees must sign liability waivers, and prior Operation Ride Home beneficiaries may apply again, but aren’t guaranteed to be selected.

Jack Daniel’s donated $100,000 to this year’s efforts, per the release. For more information or to donate to the program, click here.

Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.

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