FORT LEE, Va. (Jan. 11, 2018) -- Holiday Helper at Fort Lee continues to expand in providing needed services to military members and their families, fulfilling its motto “No Military Child Goes Without.”
The year 2017 proved to be a busy one for the eight volunteer board members who work year- round to ensure all endeavors run smoothly. This, of course, can only be accomplished through the efforts of volunteers and donors.
As in previous years, program efforts included providing free school supplies and backpacks to hundreds of military children, providing bikes to units for distribution, supporting families throughout the year that faced special circumstances and letting nominated military members “shop” for their children’s holiday toys free of charge.
Approximately 500 military families were served this holiday season that included about 1,200 children. This includes active duty (all branches), Reservists, National Guard and Wounded Warriors.
From its beginnings in a conference room at Army Community Service, the program developed after a former director saw a need for toys for children of Fort Lee service members.
While ACS helps military members with financial issues and other services, Holiday Helper tends to the basic needs of children – toys to ensure they have a pleasant holiday season. Also provided are hats and mittens, books, stuffed animals, art and craft kits, live holiday trees if needed, Commissary gift cards and a large box of food from FeedMore to assist with holiday meals.
New initiatives in 2017 included supporting military members unable to return home for the holiday season. Holiday bags filled with homemade treats and other goodies were created and distributed to more than 300 military members on Christmas and New Yea’s Day. A patriotic holiday card was included, made by children in the community, that thanked them for their service. The bags were assembled by the Holiday Helper board and other volunteers.
Looking ahead to 2018, the Holiday Helper Association board members are working with commanders to find out what is needed to best serve their troops. One possibility is a pizza party and movie night for the 300 or more military members who remain on-post during the holiday season.
The following personnel serve on the board: Wayne Hall, president; Carlton Branch, 1st vice president; Carrie Williams, 2nd vice president; Susan Garling, outreach and marketing manager; Joy Metzger, nomination and volunteer manager; Idian Hall, toystore and purchasing manager; Brenda Pilkerton, treasurer; and Becky Joyner, secretary.
For more information, visit www.holidayhelperassociationcom. If interested in volunteering, send an email to email@example.com.