One of my favorite Christmas gifts one year came from an Aunt on a limited budget. She gave my Mom $25 for the family and my Mom went out and bought all kinds of treats and fun foods that we didn’t normally get to have. $25 went a lot further in those days. With our family eating nutritiously most of the time, this was a special experience my sisters and I loved. Commissary Gift Cards are a great way to gift a food experience to your family and friends that have access to the commissary. It is very special at this time of year as the commissary brings in special holiday treats from around the world.
“We like to say that anyone can show their appreciation and support to military service members and their families around the world by giving them the gift of groceries,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Tomeka N. O’Neal, the Defense Commissary Agency’s senior enlisted advisor to the Defense Commissary Agency director. To make the gift even more convenient you can order them online and they can be shipped anywhere in the U.S. or to APO, FPO, and DPO addresses for those OCONUS or you can just pick them up at your local commissary.
“The program, featuring cards in denominations of $25 or $50, has been incredibly successful. Since it began in 2011, over 1 million gift cards have been sold, said Bob Bunch, DeCA’s gift card program manager. “A redemption rate that tops 90 percent shows that it’s a gift that’s not only used but is greatly appreciated. This year we’re making it even more attractive to give gift cards through the rollout of new ‘open value’ cards that let purchasers put any amount between $5 and $300 on them.”
With the new ‘open value” cards, you can determine how much you want to give. Only 40 commissaries can load amounts on the cards. If your commissary is not one of the 40, you can buy them online. Eventually all commissaries will have the capability. You will also be able to purchase in Navy Exchanges with a partnership between NEXCOM and DeCA.
“Separations created by the demands of military service are a tough part of military life,” O’Neal said. “Whether it’s a single service member or a family, using commissary gift cards lifts spirits. The commissary’s quality products and services remind them of home and they can save their money to use on other things to make their holidays memorable
Commissary Gift Card Facts
- Gift cards are available online and at all commissaries worldwide.
- Cards are good for five years from the date of purchase.
- Cards purchased online incur a shipping and handling fee. There are no fees when the card is purchased in a store.
- There is no limit to the number of gift cards that a purchaser can buy. It’s recommended that organizations and activities consider buying their gift cards online if they plan to purchase more than 50 cards at a time.
- Cards can be shipped anywhere in the United States. When shipping outside the United States, an APO, FPO or DPO address must be used.
- To check a gift card’s balance, go online and then click the “Check your balance” box.
- There’s a phone number, 877-988-4438, on the back of the gift cards that can handle customer service questions. Customers can also use this number to check the balance on their card.
The 40 Commissaries that carry the new Open Gift Card
- Virginia: Fort Eustis, Langley Air Force Base, Fort Lee, Fort Myer, Norfolk Naval Shipyard Scott Center Annex, Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek, Naval Base Norfolk, Fort Belvoir, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Naval Air Station Oceana, Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren.
- Maryland: Fort Detrick, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Dover Air Force Base, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Joint Base Andrews, Naval Support Activity Annapolis, Forest Glen, Fort Meade
- Connecticut: Submarine Base New London
- Maine: Bangor Air National Guard Base
- New Jersey: Picatinny Arsenal, Lakehurst and McGuire Commissaries at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
- Pennsylvania: Carlisle Barracks, Tobyhanna Army Depot
- New York: Mitchel Field, Saratoga Springs, Fort Drum, U.S. Military Academy (West Point), Fort Hamilton
- North Carolina: Marine Corps Air Station New River, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
- Massachusetts: Hanscom Air Force Base
- Washington, D.C.: Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling
- Rhode Island: Naval Education and Training Center Newport
- South Carolina: Fort Jackson, Naval Weapons Station Charleston and Charleston Air Force Base at Joint Base Charleston, Shaw Air Force Base
For more information visit more time and money by visiting the online customer portal, My Commissary).
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.PeggyWhereShouldIGo.com