The holiday season can be a difficult time for any of us who have to spend it away from our families. Yet, for law enforcement personnel, first responders, and deployed soldiers, this time away from home comes as a sacrifice toward protecting our safety even on special occasions. This commitment to serving our country, no matter the date or occasion, is a worthy reminder of how important it is to give back to our heroes in uniform this holiday season. It is especially meaningful to give back to these men and women who continue to serve our communities at home and abroad.
Whether it’s donating canned food or old vehicles, taking the time to volunteer, sending out care packages, or inviting a military family over for dinner, there are literally hundreds of wonderful ways to pay forward the selflessness that these individuals have shown us throughout the year.
1. Make a Financial Contribution
While not all of us have the time to volunteer or go through our shelves to find gently used items, financial contributions can be a great way to support charitable organizations through the holiday season and beyond. Programs such as Soldiers’ Angels’ “Adopt-A-Family” allow us to directly donate to military families, many of whom are on strict budgets during difficult deployments.
Financial resources also allow organizations to throw holiday parties for veterans, send care packages to soldiers deployed overseas, host fundraising drives, and so much more. You may even choose to purchase a gift from one of these organizations, allowing you to spread the word while directly contributing to our heroes. Making it even easier to donate, many organizations offer various giving options, including monthly or one-time donations. There are hundreds of worthy organizations that are supporting our veterans, first responders, soldiers, and law enforcement personnel, and your donation will go a long way to giving back to these selfless individuals.
You may consider giving to one of Mission Manager’s favorite nonprofits, listed below:
First Responders — The Gary Sinese Foundation
Soldiers and Veterans — Soldiers’ Angels
Law Enforcement — Concerns of Police Survivors
Just remember to do your research before donating to any charity or nonprofit. While it may seem like an overwhelming process, finding out which organizations are reputable means that you both give wisely and are able to share information with others who would like to do the same. Sites such as Charity Navigator and the Better Business Bureau simplify this process, allowing us to look up particular organizations and review their ratings before donating.
2. Donate Items
Monetary donations are not the only way to give back to our law enforcement, military, and first responder heroes this season. Donations of needed items like toiletries, coats and jackets, and non-perishable foods are another important way to give back.
Many organizations accept gently used items, canned foods, and other non-monetary donations. Groups such as the Veterans Association of America will even come to your home to pick up used furniture and other home goods. Soldiers’ Angels accepts used vehicles, care packages, and used technology in lieu of cash gifts, making it even easier to contribute.
3. Donate Time
Many organizations dedicated to serving law enforcement officers, first responders, soldiers, and veterans are understaffed, particularly during the winter holiday season. Whether you have the time to give back on a long-term or one-day basis, your volunteership is an excellent way to say “thank you” to those who risk their lives for us.
Plus, volunteering is now easier than ever before—you can help with technology-based projects from the comfort of your own home.
4. Reach Out
Many of our heroes and their loved ones could really just use a friendly face during this particularly trying time of year. Thoughtful gestures are especially meaningful for deployed military families spending their first holiday season in a new region. The holidays can be overwhelming as the parent at home endures the stress of having a loved one at risk and tries to make the time special for young children missing their deployed mother or father.
Inviting families to your home for some holiday fun and distraction can be a huge weight lifted, and can also be a great way to help them feel like welcome members of your community. For help finding families in your area, check out Operation We Are Here.
5. Say Thank You
Whether indirectly through your gifts of time, items, or financial resources, expressing gratitude is key to setting a joyous holiday mood for all. These acts of kindness can even become a fun holiday tradition for the whole family—after all, many police and fire departments show off art and thank you cards they have received from young supporters!
The main thing to remember is that this is a difficult time of year for many first responders, law enforcement personnel, soldiers, veterans, and their families. Whether dealing with financial challenges, seeking to make it through the holidays without a loved one, or missing time with family, these heroes can truly use our support. No matter what we have to contribute, it is up to all of us to give back to our heroes and make sure they feel our gratitude this holiday season.
Happy holidays from all of us at Mission Manager!