The financial burden felt by military members across the world is felt even more during the holiday time. The grocery bills increase with larger meals and visiting family or friends, and the cost of holiday gifts or out-of-the-area travel leads to larger than normal expenses. One of the larger expenses is the holiday meal. There are several programs developed for military families, specifically with a gift for a turkey and/or holiday meal.
Turkey for Troops from the USO
Many branches of the USO have holiday meal programs. For instance, the USO-Metro offers holiday meal baskets to active duty service members ranked E1-E6 stationed in the area. Registration for their program opens mid-October, and those chosen will be notified the first week of November. The program also includes crafts and family activities. Check your local USO here.
The Holiday Meals for Military Program from Operation Homefront provides holiday meals for military members with deployed service members. Holiday meal sign-ups are open NOW, and can fill quickly, so make sure to check out the eligibility criteria and sign up if you meet the criteria. Some programs are open to all ranks and include veterans, and some areas are open to E1-E6 only.
To volunteer to help with the program, click here.
Those who want to provide corporate sponsorship can click here.
Many churches around large military bases have programs for military families. Watch for flyers or posts on local social media for alerts. This is a way for the local area to share and show support for military families, so be sure to keep an eye out and share with your local unit.
If you are living in military housing, keep a watch out for giveaways or programs from the military housing agencies for meal giveaways. Partnering local organizations sometimes reach out to the housing agency on base because they have a direct link to military families to provide a giveaway.
Another link to military families is the holiday events that are held on installation. The local community will sometimes connect with the service branch community services or Fleet and Family Services for giveaways during the holiday event. Pies, turkeys, or holiday groceries are sometimes given away. If you are planning to attend a holiday event on base, listen to the schedule for the event.