Anonymous donor gifts holiday help for Tampa Bay military, veterans and families

Home for the Holidays

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A national nonprofit is looking to make the holiday season brighter for Tampa Bay area military and veteran families, thanks to an anonymous donor.

Soldiers’ Angels provides aid, comfort and resources to the military, veterans and their families through “Angel” volunteers. The organization was founded in 2003 by family members of General George Patton.

The Soldiers’ Angels Holiday Adopt-A-Family program matches businesses, organizations, and individuals with qualified military and veteran families who could use some help during the holidays.

Veteran and military families in need of support this holiday season can go online through Dec. 6 to apply.

Once accepted, families are adopted by Soldiers’ Angel sponsors. At minimum, families will receive gifts for children and a grocery gift card to help with holiday dinner from a sponsor.

(Courtesy: Soldiers’ Angels)

This year, an anonymous person donated to the nonprofit specifically to help families in the Tampa Bay area. The exact amount of the donation was not given.

Soldiers’ Angels president and CEO Amy Palmer, who is an Air Force veteran herself, said there is a lot of help here through the organization for military and veteran families in Tampa Bay.

“Initially, we had an anonymous donation that wanted to target specific markets. Tampa was one of those markets. But since then, we’ve had other donors [in] Tampa, specifically, I think because of the outreach in Tampa [and those] that have come forward and wanted to support Tampa,” she said.

Palmer explained that the organization makes it reasonable for an individual to adopt a family. However, they often see businesses, both large and small, across the country adopt families.

“It’s a great opportunity for a small business or a church or a civic group to adopt a family, because they can work together to to take a local family,” she said. “We have a lot of small businesses that will take one family or two families, and then they’ll each bring things together to support that family, which is really great. It’s a great opportunity to serve.”

The Adopt-A-Family program is meant to be supplemental help for families this holiday season, though Palmer does admit it might be all some may have.

“Sadly, in some cases, it may be their only holiday meal. We’ve actually had some people that have registered, for the gift items for their kids, that listed undergarments and pajamas and kind of essential things, versus toys, because the kids need those items,” she said.

Palmer hopes those who adopt these families who list essential needs are able to go “above and beyond” to provide other things, as well.

(Courtesy: Soldiers’ Angels)

She said while there are already sponsors, like USAA, that will sponsor 20 families in Tampa Bay, Soldiers’ Angels does not want to discourage others from helping.

“They can go and search by zip code and find local families or even national families… We have people who adopt families from all over the country. They don’t necessarily have to be in that local market, so we do still encourage people to to go to our website if they’re interested in adopt a family.”

Families are eligible based on financial need on the following, according to the nonprofit:

  • Deployed service members who are registered and approved for Deployed Support, are an E1-E6, meet income requirements, AND will be deployed through December 25, 2021
  • Honorably discharged Post-911 wounded, ill, or injured veterans
  • HUD/VASH veteran families

All families must be a legal guardian to one or more children, 18-years-old or younger, living in the same home and not yet graduated from high school.

Soldiers’ Angels was able to help nearly 1,500 families last year and through an increased interest in wanting to help virtually, they hope to help around 1,700 families this year.

The nonprofit also provides year-round assistance and support to military members and veterans, including virtual baby showers, virtual group to support female caregivers of the wounded, injured and ill, hygiene kits for veterans at VA hospitals, nonperishable box lunches for homeless veterans, transportation to and from critical doctor appointments and more.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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