This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Navy Federal Credit Union. All opinions are 100% mine. Navy Federal is federally insured by NCUA.
‘Tis the season for shopping, gifts, turkey, trimmings, sparkling lights and… giving back. This year, especially for many families—military and civilian alike—are feeling the pinch and squeeze of so many stressful obstacles. From rising costs to uncertainty abroad to housing issues, there are many difficult situations for families this time of year.
When John and I were first married, we faced our first Christmas alone without family nearby. I was unemployed, and we had just gotten rid of our two clunker cars and replaced them with one. We were paying down massive student loan debt. While it’s a holiday season I remember fondly, it’s also one I know was not without its frustrations.
That first Christmas, we received a box of holiday fixings distributed by the USO to enlisted families. The purpose was to make it a little less expensive to have a festive meal… but more importantly for me, it was a reminder that, even though it sometimes felt that way, we were not alone.
The truth is, the military community is full of people who are so generous and giving. Maybe it’s because most military families are motivated by service. Maybe it’s because they’ve all been-there, done-that. No matter the reason, there are many options for military connected folks to support the military communities. Here are just a few ways that you can get involved and give back to the military community during this holiday season.
1. Marine Corps Toys for Tots Drive
Is it Christmas without a Marine Corps Toys for Tots Drive? Not only is it one of America’s most beloved and iconic charities (this year, Toys for Tots is going on 75 years of making spirits bright!), it’s also near and dear to Navy Federal Credit Union. Navy Federal is celebrating their 25th year participating in the drive. This year, 330 Navy Federal branches are drop-off locations. Want to help? You can drop off a new, unwrapped toy at a participating Navy Federal branch. If you aren’t near a branch, you can easily donate a toy or funds online in just a few clicks until December 5.
2. Secure Families Initiative
Secure Families Initiative was created by military spouses, for military spouses. Because military spouses understand better than anyone the consequences that decisions over war and peace have here on our home front, SFI advocates for smart advocacy-forward solutions. They work to stop protracted wars and reprioritize diplomacy as the foreign policy tool of first response. This year, they’re making a Giving Tuesday appeal. You can find out more about this nonprofit and how to give to their cause here.
3. Military Family Advisory Network
The Military Family Advisory Network is a nonprofit that is led by and advised by military families. MFAN connects military families to great resources, people, and information through research, direct action, and tools. In the past few years, MFAN has been providing direct relief to food insecure military families through huge food drive mobilizations across the country. Learn how to get involved here.
4. Holiday Meals for Military
Since 2010, Operation Homefront has provided military families across the country with holiday dinner kits to help ease the costs of an expensive festive season. The Holiday Meals for Military distribution event needs volunteer power to make it happen—and that’s where you come in! Give a few hours of your time to help pack kits or distribute them, and give fellow military families a holiday season that’s a little less stressful. Learn more about volunteering here.
This year, are you making a point to volunteer or give to a particular military-connected charity? I’d love to hear where you spend your time! Drop your favorite nonprofit organization in the comments.