Operation Military Cheer brings gifts to Kentucky National Guard children

DWA

Story and photo by David Altom, KYNG Public Affairs

Frankfort, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2010) — Charity begins at home, so the saying goes, and Kentucky National Guard troops and their families are banding together for the sixth year in a row to create a little comfort and joy during the holiday season. 

Linda Jones and Cindy Culver pull double duty with the Family Assistance Center as "Christmas elves" as part of the Kentucky National Guard's Operation Military Cheer. At last count more than 210 Guard youth have been designated to receive gifts ... and the number keeps on growing.

“Times are tough for a lot of our Guard families the past few years,” said Cindy Culver, State Youth Coordinator for the Kentucky National Guard.  “And in Kentucky we’re all family, so we’re getting together to take care of each other.”

“Getting together” is what the Kentucky Guard’s Family Assistance Center does best.  Since 2005 the FAC has run Operation Military Cheer, connecting those in need with those who can. 

The process is fairly simple: Guard families who cannot afford holiday gifts apply for assistance through the FAC and those requests are handed out to donors who want to help their fellow Soldiers and Airmen.

That first Christmas the program supported about 40 children in need and the numbers have grown every year since.  Culver cited the uniqueness of the National Guard as a definite factor in the program. 

Wrapped up and ready to go under the Christmas tree! This gift bag is numbered and targeted for a Guard family in the Morehead area.

“When you think National Guard you have to remember that most of our troops have civilian jobs that are affected by the economy,” said Culver.  “So many are affected, especially with layoffs and cutbacks going on all across the workforce.  Last year we were able to help more than 300 youth in the Kentucky National Guard family.  So far this year we’ve got requests to provide for more than 210 youth from 87 families.  We expect that number to increase significantly over the next several days.”

Requested items range from bicycles and toys to clothing.

“Anything is a good thing,” said Culver.  “We just want everyone to get something for Christmas.”

The deadline to apply for assistance is Dec. 7.  All applications received after that will be considered on a case by case basis.

To find out how you can become part of Operation Military Cheer contact: Cindy Culver @ cindy.culver@us.army.mil or Linda Jones @ linda.jones@us.army.mil.  You can also reach them through the Family Assistance Center hotline at 1-800-372-7601. 

###

About kentuckyguard