While the holidays and particularly Christmas are an exciting time for many, it can be an unsettling and tough time for members of the military, veterans and their families. 

Money may be tight. There may be an impending move or a very recent move leaving the family in transition in either case. There could have been a recent or recurring injury leaving life too jumbled to deal with all that goes into Christmas. 

Often there are children involved, which makes the holiday even harder. The fear of letting down your family can leave you feeling defeated. 

However, thanks to dedicated volunteers and nonprofits alike, there are many options to help put some magic back into the holiday. We at Hope For The Warriors have put together a quick holiday resource guide that may be of help.

The first thing you may want to do is check out organizations like the USO, VFW or the American Legions in your area to see if they have any options. Churches in your community are also a great resource as are many civic organizations.

Below is a list that may provide some help as well. Follow the links provided and check out the websites or Facebook pages. Most of the important information is there, deadlines, phone numbers and email addresses. Pay special attention to the deadlines as many are upcoming in October. 

Salvation Army Angel Tree:

The Salvation Army Angel Tree program helps provide Christmas gifts for hundreds of thousands of children around the country each year. Christmas wish lists are shared with donors in the community who purchase gifts of new clothing and toys. The gifts are distributed to the family to place under their family Christmas tree.

You will need to share certain information with the Salvation Army to assure qualification for the program as well as details on each Angel. Examples include photo ID, proof of residence, birth certificate, official custody or guardianship papers.

The Salvation Army operates Angel Tree programs in many communities, but not all. To inquire about your location, visit saangeltree or call your local Salvation Army office.

Toys for Tots:

The primary goal of Marine Toys for Tots is to help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children.

Toy applications are accepted and managed by the local Marine Toys for Tots campaign in your area. The Foundation does not have the ability to take toy applications for families and non-profits at the national level. Please contact your local Marine Toys for Tots campaign for information on how to apply for assistance.

If you would like to apply for assistance from Marine Toys for Tots this Christmas click here to find the local Marine Toys for Tots campaign in your community and visit their local campaign website for details and instructions.

Operation Home Front:

Operation Homefront’s Holiday Toy Drive helps bring holiday cheer to veteran, wounded and active-duty military families alike. The organization has partnered with Dollar Tree for more than a decade to provide military families with recurring support during the holidays.

The best way to keep up with information concerning Operation Homefront’s Christmas Toy Drive is to visit its Facebook page here.

Operation Homefront also understands the high cost of feeding families and guests during Christmas. The nonprofit says “thank you” for your service and sacrifice with Holiday Meals for Military.

To register or receive more information about either of the Operation Home Front programs, click here.

Operation Santa Boots: 

Boot Campaign’s Santa Boots program strives to make the holidays brighter for military families who have recently had a permanent change of duty station, are separated because of deployments, or are caring for the health of a wounded, injured or ill service member.

The Santa Boots program delivers specially curated gift boxes to veteran and active-duty military families nationwide. For more information, click here

Operation Christmas Spirit: 

For 18 years, Operation Christmas Spirit, part of Operation Help a Hero, supports military families, single service members and unit morale boosting during the holiday season.

Soldiers’ Angels: 

Soldiers’ Angels goal is to help military families on tight budgets make their Christmas celebration bigger than expected. The nonprofit works to provide toys for children and a grocery gift card or prepaid Visa gift card to purchase their holiday dinner. To register for services, click here.

Gary Sinise Foundation:

Gary Sinise Foundation Snowball Express serves the surviving spouses and children of fallen heroes. 

They provide year-round programming and support for families that honors their fallen hero, encourages them to make new memories, and provides opportunities to connect with others who know what they’ve been through.

For more information, click here.