9 military charities you can donate time and gifts to this holiday season
This time of year, people of all belief systems band together to give back. To their communities, to families in needs, and of course, to military organizations. If you would like to offer something -- anything -- but aren’t sure where to go, look no further.
This guide includes military-based charities that are actively accepting goods, funds and/or donations of time. Send money, purchase gifts for others, offer gift cards for restaurants or groceries, or sign up to help put it all together. Even if you can’t give financially, these groups thrive from hands-on workers who help bring their mission into reality.
Find the organization that speaks to you and reach out to lend a hand.
- Wreaths Across America
WAA is a nonprofit group that places donated wreaths on veteran graves each December. You can purchase a wreath or help place them during a ceremony at a participating cemetery this December 19th.
Sign up at wreathsacrossamerica.org
- Pay Away the Layaway
This nonprofit organization is specifically designed to help kids and struggling families. It works with families placing items from their wish list on layaway, then donors helping to pay remaining balances. You can set up a local option to help those in your area, or find nearby families and help them get the items they need for the holidays and beyond.
Give at payawaythelayaway.org
- Full Circle Home
Deployed service members appreciate their family members back home, but don’t always know how to say thank you. Full Circle Home helps fill that gap by providing gifts and hand-written notes to the heroes at home.
Donations help fund gifts and shipping costs, while volunteers help wrap and assemble gifts each holiday season. Learn more at fullcirclehome.org
- Operation Help a Hero
OHH is a 17-year organization that helps provide holiday spirit to military families in need. Most notably, they purchase and provide gifts for families. OHH also helps promote various service projects, such as camps, universal baby showers and random acts of kindness throughout the year.
Volunteer or donate by signing up at operationhelpahero.org
- Operation Holiday Joy
A part of YMCA, OHJ is a branch that serves military families for the holidays. They strictly take monetary donations, which are then used to purchase gifts and food to those in need. Last year the group raised $1.5 million toward toys and food baskets.
Sign up and give at asymca.org/donate-operation-holiday-joy
- Operation Homefront
Operation Homefront is a year-round operation, helping provide needs for military families, often with housing or caregiver support. They also host an “urgent needs” section where visitors can help donate toward a specific cause, such as new babies or sudden loss of income.
Find more at operationhomefront.org
- Spirit of Sharing
Adopt a military family and help provide them with the Christmas they deserve. Spirit of Sharing allows donors to anonymously donate presents to a family. Volunteers can also help wrap or deliver gifts so they show up in time for the big day.
Learn more at spiritofsharing.org
- Soldiers’ Angels
This is a unique holiday option that allows lower enlisted families to receive a one-time gift card. Amounts vary, but are meant to help provide a holiday meal ($50-$100) and gifts for kids under the age of 15.
Give at soldiersangels.org
- Local operations
For local charities accepting help, contact your MWR office. This locator site can help you find contact information for the MWR office nearest to you.
Know of a military-friendly charity event or organization that isn’t mentioned? Please list and link it below. Happy volunteering!