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Posts Tagged ‘giving back’

587px-Omaha_Beach_wounded_soldiers,_1944-06-06The call. They have answered the call since before we were even officially a nation. They answered the call to form a union and then a century later, to preserve a union. They are our service members.

They have answered the call to go to foreign shores: Europe, Korea, Vietnam, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently West Africa. They go to fight enemies, defend freedom, and provide emergency response and crisis intervention for those facing unbearable odds. They lay at rest in Arlington, and in small towns, and in places with names like Aisne-Marnes, Belleau Wood. 17,000 in Manila, almost 3,000 in North Africa.

Over 80,000[1] remain Missing in Action.

On average, 22 a day are lost to the ghosts of war that came home with them.

We at Operation Homefront answer calls every day from active duty and wounded, ill or injured veterans. They reach out through email and our social channels. Others reach out for them, becoming a voice when they can’t find theirs. We understand the high cost exacted from service to country. And we are honored to be the one they turn to when they need help. That we can do so is in no small part because there are those who answer the call in other ways. Through donations, volunteering, raising awareness.

Battle-BuddiesWe are dedicating the rest of 2014 to those brave men and women now and over the centuries who have honored us with their service by honoring theirs with our #AnswertheCall campaign.

From January through October 2014, Operation Homefront provided over $4 million in emergency financial assistance to military families, a 23 percent increase from the same time last year. We are meeting more needs than ever, which is why we need your help. Help us #AnswerTheCall this #GivingTuesday

How?

GIVE: Visit our special Answer the Call page for ways to show your support for our military men and women, our wounded warriors and their families. Tomorrow, Giving Tuesday, we’ll have a special announcement on how you can have an even bigger impact on meeting the needs of our military and wounded warrior families. Be sure to check in with us on our Facebook page and blog.

RAISE AWARENESS: Tell us why you will answer the call on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. We will showcase messages on our Get Social page. Be sure to use #AnswerTheCall.

VOLUNTEER: Without the dedicated support of volunteers, we would not be able to accomplish our mission. From our special event volunteers to our staff-level volunteers, each person makes a life-changing and immeasurable valuable gift to our families. Find your local Field Office at www.operationhomefront.net

Military life is challenging, and the holiday season can be even more so. Help us let our military know they are not forgotten, and that when they need us, we will be there. Answer the call now.

[1] http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/summary_statistics/index.htm

 

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Diego and his mom, Jennifer, on the day they handed out “I Served” stickers and encouraged veterans receiving treatment at the VA Hospital in Brooklyn, NY.

“Words of kindness are more healing to a drooping heart than balm or honey.” Sarah Fielding

One very special military boy, Diego, 8 years old, was determined to do something to make life a little brighter for the men and women who received care at the VA Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. And he did. In the words of his mother:

“Since we moved to Ft. Hamilton, Diego has been so curious about the veterans hospital.

It is a very tall building that we see daily when we enter and exit the base. He has asked many questions and made many comments. One really got me.

‘Maybe they are sad because they just have one leg and are looking at the window, wanting to go home.’

He asked me if we could go to the hospital and bring empanadillas for the veterans. (I know. This boy is pure gold!) I explained to him that they are very strict at the VA and that was a very cool idea but maybe we were not going to be allowed to do that.

We had been brainstorming when, driving one day around the neighborhood, we saw a sign that says: “Don’t forget our Veterans at the VA Hospital.” Diego once again reminded me that he wanted to go to the VA.

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Honor. Respect. Remember. Healing words for those who wonder if their sacrifices are forgotten.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend sent me info about a program that gives free Operation Homefront “I Served” stickers to veterans and asked me if I wanted some. Bingo!

I told myself, ‘I’m giving out those stickers at the VA, and putting a smile on those veteran’s faces. Period.’

I told Diego that I was going to contact the Volunteer Coordinator to ask for permission. We got a call a few days later that we were good to go! Diego was happier than a dog with 9 tails!

On our visit, where we passed out about 200 stickers, we saw a little bit of everything. We engaged in meaningful conversations with true heroes, talking to me and my son about world history. What can be better than that?

My heart is full today. We shook hands, handed them their stickers and thanked them for their service.

It was something so simple that made many people smile. I’m talking about people that have sacrificed so much so I can live free and happy in this great nation.

Anyone can do that. We don’t have to do great big huge gigantic things; just do what you can, when you can. Sometimes we might feel that what we do is a small drop in the ocean; but the ocean will be less because of that missing drop.

Thank you, my boy, for pushing “Mami” to do this and thank you Operation Homefront for all you do for our veterans and military families!”

Diego lives with his mom, dad and sister at Fort Hamilton, NY where his dad serves in the U.S. Army. Thank you to this wonderful family who live a life of service every day.

Find out more about our I Served sticker program that offers a variety of free stickers to recognize veterans for their service. View our Pinterest board that features pictures from friends who have received a sticker.

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100,000 Facebook fans. Upon hitting that number, we sat back and thought about the meaning of this milestone.

Truly, it’s not about the number, but what it represents. A community of people from all over the USA, and even overseas, who have a common bond of service. Service to our country and service to each other. A commitment to making a difference in someone’s lives. That’s powerful stuff, and in a world that seems to be getting crazier by the moment, concrete proof of the goodness of people.

Hug someone right now!

There are so many good souls out there just waiting to bring a smile and a helping hand to their neighbor.

Yes, we have 100,000 reasons to celebrate today, but every day, we celebrate the one. The one person who found the courage to reach out and say, “I need help.” The one who reached out to say, “I want to help.” The one who dropped by to let us know how they are doing and how your support of our mission allowed us to make their lives better at a time when they felt nothing was going their way. And yes, even the ones who let us know, sometimes colorfully, that we have some more work to do.

We smiled for days after receiving this.  Your support means the world to our military and veteran families.

We smiled for days after receiving this. Your support means the world to our military and veteran families.

We particularly love to share pictures of what we’re doing and the impact your support is having on our military and veteran families. Some of our favorite posts have been from our photo contests. Over time, you have shared thousands of moving photos that have captured joy, sadness, triumphs and loss. You have allowed us to help share with the country a glimpse of what it means to serve.

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Joy, relief, love…wrapped up in one precious moment. (one of the finalists in our My American Life photo contest, submitted by Krystal Lund)

So, we just want to say “Thank You” for checking in with us…whether it be daily, weekly or monthly. On our Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram page or here on our blog. We know that these days, lives are very busy, and your time online is often filled with just as much to do and process as your offline world. Time is a priceless gift these days. We are honored that you would take the time to help us raise awareness of the challenges faced by military and veteran families, and how someone can help.

Together, we are unstoppable!

 

And we can’t say thanks without also mentioning those who make it possible…our individual and corporate donors. Your support is the reason we have a really good story to tell in the first place.

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Thanks for 100,000 likes. We like you too.

 

 

 

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givingtuesday-2“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

― Mother Teresa

Hang around the non- profit community long enough and you are sure to see a quote like this posted to a desk or on a social media page. Themes of Love, Service, Purpose. Quotes from famous people, scripture, letters from those touched by and had lives changed by the mission.

It’s easy to dismiss them as simple motivational tools, especially when it seems that needs are overwhelming and resources always scarce.  But there is a deeper reason why these phrases are common and enduring.

They are true.

There is a joy in giving, in lifting another up, in showing someone the goodness in others and themselves, at times when they can’t see a way through.

Today, on #GivingTuesday, charities, families, businesses, community centers, students and more will come together with one focus. Join in and be a part of a national movement of generosity. Whether it’s our mission or community food programs or clean water or curing disease, you can make a difference.  Here are some easy ways you can get involved on #GivingTuesday and throughout the year in Operation Homefront’s mission to support our nation’s military, veterans and wounded warrior families.

Make Some Noise. Tweet tweet! Our wonderful partners at the Home Depot Foundation are donating a dollar a tweet using #TeamDepot to @HomeDepotFdn  from Dec 3 until Dec. 31.  You’ll not only raise much needed funds (up to $100,000!), but also awareness of the challenges of our military families and wounded warriors. Follow us on Twitter at @Op_Homefront.

Click and Give.  Once again, Operation Homefront is honored to have been selected as one of 10 charities to receive a portion of a $200,000 gift from the CDW Corporation.  For a mouse click, you can help raise funds for our mission. Voting is open from now until Jan. 3,2014, and you can vote daily.

Don an Elf Hat and Donate a Toy for a Military Family: Between now and Dec. 6, you can donate a toy for our Holiday Toy Drive.  Toys will be distributed nationwide in the coming weeks at bases and towns across the country.

Encourage A Child: We all know them…the youngest patriots who didn’t choose to serve but make sacrifices of their own as part of a military family. They endure multiple moves, separations from loved ones and so much more on behalf of all of America’s kids. Take a moment and nominate a military kid to be considered for our Military Child of the Year award.  Just by being nominated, they will receive a certificate of appreciation from us.

Volunteer: Many of our events, such as Holiday Meals for Military and our Toy Drives, along with Back to School Brigade and other programs throughout the year rely on our community of volunteers to make it happen.  Connect up with your local Field Office to see how you can get involved in supporting military families in your community and other ways to get involved in our mission.

Support One of Our Current Needs: Emergency assistance requests have hit an all-time high this year, and it is only through the generous support of individuals, businesses and organizations that we are able to provide a measure of comfort and hope to those who have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.  We regularly post ongoing and current needs on our website.

Raise Awareness: Learn more about How We Help and our areas of focus: Relief, Recovery and Recognition.  Getting the word out that help is available and where to go will ensure that our military families and wounded warriors can focus on their missions and challenges.

Are you taking part in a #GivingTuesday event in your area?  Share in the comments.

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74581_10152020985359884_170441004_nIs Thanksgiving a special holiday for you or your family?

Operation Homefront through support from Josh Cellars is pleased to offer up to 10 active duty Service Members round trip airfare home to see their loved ones!

Eligibility: Active duty, traveling from and to destinations in the continental 48 states; travel dates between Nov. 23-Dec. 6, 2013; traveler must be the service member, no exceptions.

To apply, send an e-mail to Travel@operationhomefront.net and include: Your name, Service branch, Rank, Duty station, Departure City (where you are) & Destination City (where you want to go), and, in 300 words or less, please share what a trip home for Thanksgiving would mean to you and your family. Feel free to include how long you’ve been away from your loved ones, what your family’s Thanksgiving traditions are, and how you’d celebrate if you were able to be together this year.

Each Recipient will receive ONE round trip ticket home and a special gift!

Entries will be accepted through November 8, 5pm CST.

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