Army Community Service Helps Soldiers Have Happy Holiday Season

Christmas stories-6The holiday season is about giving.

That can sometimes be tough on a budget. With extra expenditures for gifts, Service members may be tempted to cut corners or take on debt.

One organization on Joint Base Myer Henderson Hall helps take up this burden: Army Community Service (ACS).

“Army Community Service is the Army family support organization,” said Marcia A. O’Connor, the Family Member Program Manager. “This is our way to connect to the community.”

Through a Soldier’s chain of command, Soldiers can sign up for a toy give away. Soldiers can talk to their chain of command through December 17 to get gifts for their children, said O’Connor.

All toys are donated through a variety of programs. Toys are Christmas stories-7available for children up to the age of 13, with older children being issued gift cards said O’Connor.

The program has been around for over 15 years, said O’Connor.

First-time Volunteers like Megan K. Murray will help Soldiers pick out toys for their children. All a Soldier needs to do is let them know the age.

“We get to do like holiday shopping, picking things out, which we love,” said Murray.

“All the Soldiers are so appreciative,” said Murray, whose husband is an Army Officer. She said she enjoys seeing Soldiers and their family members coming through and picking out things for their children.

“Its such a happy time,” said Marilyn C. Brooks, a 10-year volunteer. Christmas stories-8Brooks is a civilian without any ties to the military. “It gives me such pleasure to be here.”

ACS not only unites Soldiers and their communities, but the volunteers themselves.

“All of the volunteers are so welcoming,” said Murray.

“It’s a family,” said Brooks.Christmas stories-10

“Our volunteers say this is one of the most heartwarming events of the year,” said O’Connor. “Just to be able to make military children smile.”

O’Connor said to date, an estimated 130 Soldiers are signed up to receive toys. Soldiers with families are encouraged to talk to their chain of command before Friday, December 17 because there are always extra toys left over.



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