Adopt a Military Family for the Holidays
Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2017
It’s a common theme in the U.S. that as soon as Halloween is over, stores start putting up their holiday decorations, filling their shelves with gift ideas and playing holiday music. While Christmas is more than a month and a half away, for one nonprofit organization, it’s the perfect time to start preparing for one of its biggest philanthropic efforts of the year.
Adopt a Military Family for the Holidays This Year
Every December, the organization Soldier’s Angels facilitates a massive Holiday Adopt a Family program that connects businesses and civilians with military families of deployed service members, veterans and Post 9-11 ill or injured service members. These groups – though typically held in high esteem – often struggle on a daily basis with limited budgets, especially during the holidays.
Through Soldiers’ Angels, more than 1,056 military families (including almost 3,000 military children) were “adopted” during the last Christmas season and over $15 million in aid provided to over 360,000 service members, veterans and wounded heroes.
Starting each September, military families meeting specific requirements can apply for the Adopt a Family program and be matched with a business or member of the public. Families will receive a gift for each dependent child living in the home under the age of 18, as well as a grocery gift card to help purchase a holiday meal. Since the gifts and meals should be shipped to the family by December 11, the process of connecting families to their sponsors is currently in full effect.
To be eligible for this program, a family must be registered with the Soldiers’ Angels organization and meet the following criteria:
- Families of a deployed servicemember must be located in an area supported by Soldiers’ Angels, have a servicemember E1 through E6, and NOT be scheduled to return from deployment prior to December 1, 2017
- For a family of a Post 9-11 wounded, ill or injured service member, the service member must have proof of disability and proof of Post 9-11 military service
- For a family of a veteran, the veteran must be enrolled in HUD/VASH, and the veteran must work with their case manager to apply
An extensive list of Frequently Asked Questions for Families details how to apply for the program and what to expect once adopted, including background information and documents you will be asked to share (such as the size of your family and a wish list for each child). Once you have been approved and matched, you will receive an email letting you know your status. Many sponsors are in different cities than the adopted family and while communication between the two is encouraged, Soldiers’ Angels helps facilitate to ensure privacy and safety for all involved.
For members of the public or businesses wanting to adopt a family, you must first register as a member of Team Angel. Once you are registered, you can immediately search for a family in the database and new families are added daily as soon as they are approved. Once you are paired with a family, the family is sent an email letting them know they have been adopted, and you should contact them within 48 hours to introduce yourself.
The family will have provided a wish list for each dependent child to help you get the process started.
For each family adopted, a sponsor is asked to:
- Give a minimum of $50-100 food gift card towards a holiday meal, depending on the size of the family
- Give gifts for each biological or step-child under the age of 18 living at home in the amount of $35-50 based on their wish list (no gift cards). Remember all gifts must be age-appropriate and new. You are not required to buy gifts for older children or the adult members of the family, but you may at your discretion. You must also wrap the gifts, unless otherwise indicated by the family.
- Ship the gifts and grocery card to your adopted family and the gift must be received prior to the Christmas holidays (ship no later than Dec. 101). If you are in the local area of the family you have adopted, you may meet and exchange the gifts, but in a public location, not at a private residence.
Sponsors can choose up to three families based on size so that it meets your family’s or group’s ability to meet their needs and businesses or work groups are encouraged to participate as well. For a full list of common questions, you can review the Frequently Asked Questions for Team Angels.
The Soldiers’ Angels Adopt a Family program is just one of the dozens of programs that the nonprofit organization sponsors and supports, including baking teams that send homemade treats to the deployed, care package teams, letter writing campaigns, teams that visit VA hospitals and teams that support specific groups like chaplains, female veterans, Gold Star families and special forces.