|In February of 2002, Operation Homefront was formed in the wake of the September 11th attacks. Many military families left behind back home in America deeply needed support. Members of Operation Homefront were there to lend a helping hand to those in need through many effective deeds. The initiative continues, assisting returning service members and their families through a variety of ways.
Today, the project has branched out across the country as 23 chapters serve 32 states. Tracy Handschuh who serves as Programs Director of the New York and New Jersey state chapters took time to speak about some of the tremendous causes that Operation Homefront is spearheading across these two states.
"One of our recent drives was in support of the Dollar Tree Program that brings toys to children of military families. Some families struggled to make ends meet and couldn't afford presents for their kids while others needed extra toys for the holidays. It's a great program and many kind people have many generous donations," Tracy detailed.
"It goes hand and hand with "Adopt-A-Family" sponsorship program which allows considerate people the opportunity to provide food and presents to military families in need. Around 50-55 families were sponsored this season and one particular individual donor wonderfully decided to adopt 9 families," she continued.
Operation Homefront steps up for returning veterans with difficulty transitioning to civilian life. Tracy told two stories demonstrating their extraordinary efforts, "A recent returning wounded warrior from Bronx, New York was waiting for his checks to be delivered. Unfortunately, he couldn't make his rent and he, his wife and three children were forced to sleep in their car. He approached us and we assisted him in paying for the rent and getting his family back on their feet."
"Another serviceman was in limbo between active duty and waiting for a decision on VA status. He got behind on his mortgage and electric bills. Operation Homefront was there to make sure his bills were paid on time and his lights stayed on," she remembered.
"Thanks to many kind organizations and individuals, Operation Homefront is able to aid military families in more ways than ever. Our 2011 calendar is going to be busier than ever. Our chapters' support is growing by the day and I expect that next year will be an even greater year," Tracy joyfully exclaimed.
Aaron Taylor who serves as Operation Homefront's Public Relations Manager enlightened me about the charity's desire to give back to service members and their families. In the current financial climate, it is difficult for a large portion of American households with two working spouses to make ends meet. Military families have even more challenges ahead of them in their daily life as a spouse is often away from home serving overseas. Operation Homefront provides for those left behind with financial and food assistance, as well as home, appliance and auto repair.
"Our motivation is to serve those in need. Thousands of unpaid volunteers selflessly give their time to Operation Homefront. We appreciate their contributions whether it is taking an hour of their time to volunteer, the many great financial donations made and those who are our continuing providers. We're grateful for all the people who make sacrifices for the cause," Aaron explained.