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How to support deployed military members, families during holiday season

Military

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The holidays are a time for families to gather and celebrate. But that’s not always the case for military service members and their families.

Dr. Carrie Elk from the Elk Institute stopped by News Channel 8 to share what you can do for those deployed during the holiday season and how you can help support their families as well.

Below is a list of items you could send to show your support during the holiday season:

Deployed servicemembers:

  • Visa or Amazon gift cards
  • Miniature Christmas tree and ornaments
  • Christmas blend/holiday flavored coffee
  • Battery operated lights
  • Art supplies to make decorations/ornaments
  • Cards (handwritten- Thinking of you and thankful for your service.  Picture card of your family with a handwritten note)
  • Christmas stocking (or box) stuffed with personal items & Christmas things – toothbrush/paste, wet wipes, beef jerky, ornaments, candy canes, tuna packs, hot chocolate or cider packets, Christmas themed snacks
  • Santa hat/socks
  • Bath and Body Works products
  • Quinoa, etc. in bulk to feed everyone (they can creatively supplement the holiday meal provided)
  • Popcorn tin (all snacks need to be sealed)
  • Downloadable books/audiobooks (Amazon Kindle, Audible, Barnes & Noble Nook)
  • Paper books (your favorite book with a personal note)

Families back home with deployed member:

  • Gift cards for restaurants
  • Help decorating or putting lights up
  • Babysitting/childcare to free them up
  • Ask for a list and Christmas shop for them
  • Buy and wrap some of the things on their list
  • Store children’s gifts at your house and take them over Christmas night
  • Make a batch of Christmas cut out sugar cookies and provide the sprinkles for them to decorate together
  • Wrap their gifts for them
  • Put toys/bikes/trampolines together for them
  • Cash or Visa/Amazon gift cards for whatever they need
  • Deliver a meal
  • If you are a teacher – have your class make cards/decorations and send to military students deployed family member
  • Take a platter of homemade Christmas cookies
  • Order and give a doll of their deployed parent from DaddyDolls.com or other company
  • ASK what they need or would like!

To find out where you can send your gifts to deployed members, please contact the USO, VFW, local churches or the public affairs office at MacDill Air Force Base.

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