Volunteers give back to service members this holiday season

Nonprofits this holiday season are offering alternative gift-giving ideas that support the troops and give volunteers the opportunity to honor their loved ones.

"Men and women in uniform give to their country every single day," said Kate Kohler, former Army captain and chief operating officer for the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation, a national nonprofit providing military families with financial literacy training, housing assistance and care for wounded service members. "We think an appropriate way to recognize them during the holidays is to give back."

Donors can honor friends or family members who serve by making a donation to the PenFed Foundation in their name. At PenFed, donors can choose the program they would like to support, from grants for first-time home buyers and money management training, to child care support for wounded service members and free lodging for soldiers being treated at the Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto, Calif. The PenFed Foundation currently is working to build a $12.5 million dollar facility to house wounded service members as they undergo treatment at the hospital.

"Sometimes the best gift you can give is a helping hand," said Kohler.

Other nonprofits offering alternative gift-giving ideas include:

  • United Service Organization: USO is a congressionally chartered nonprofit dedicated to lifting the spirits of troops stationed abroad. A holiday donation to the USO can help bring the comforts of home to soldiers through programs that supply care packages, or free phone cards to call family members. Donations can be made online in the name of a loved one.
  • The Yellow Ribbon Fund Inc.: The fund assists service members and their families as they undergo treatment at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington or the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Donations to the Yellow Ribbon Fund can be made online in a loved one's name and will provide wounded soldiers with free transportation to and from the hospital and free lodging nearby. Volunteers also can take service members and their children on holiday outings, or help with grocery shopping and babysitting.
  • The Military, Veterans and Patriotic Service Organizations of America: MVPSOA is a nonprofit that screens charities offering a variety of services to military members. The organization offers gift certificates that allow the recipient to direct donated funds to his or her preferred organization from a list of 75 legitimate nonprofits. Gift certificates can be purchased online and e-mailed directly to the recipient.
  • The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial: In November nearly 400 hundred people gathered in Washington for the groundbreaking of the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial. Private donations are funding the memorial, scheduled to be completed by Veteran's Day 2012. Donations can be made online, by mail, or by phone in a loved one's name, and donors can chose from one of 15 cards with images of the future memorial to give to a friend or family member.

CORRECTION: The original version of the story omitted a word in the name of the Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.