'Support the Strong' this holiday season
November 5, 2008
Now that we've reset our clocks and the days are getting shorter, it won't be long before the holidays are upon us. Before getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season, and carrying out time-honored Family traditions, remember to add Fort Rucker charities to your gift-giving list.
This week, the Fort Rucker command launches a postwide program titled "Support the Strong," to call attention to those local charities that depend wholly on community donations-specifically, the installation Food Locker, Holiday Food Voucher, Emergency Food Voucher and Angel Tree programs.
Last year, the Fort Rucker Food Locker helped feed more than 600 Families during the holiday season. This year, because of increased prices across the board, post officials anticipate that the Food Locker will be called on to help even more.
The Fort Rucker Food Locker is managed by 1st Aviation Brigade and provides food and various supplies to post Families in need.
Staff Sgt. Wilfredo Piris, noncommissioned officer in charge of the Food Locker, said although the holidays are the busiest time for him and his team, the Food Locker is open year-round and people are always looking for help.
Those interested in donating items should call Piris at 255-3272 or 254-319-1031 to arrange a delivery time. When donors are unable to deliver Food Locker contributions, he will arrange to pick up donations on a case-by-case basis.
Individuals requiring Food Locker assistance should contact Fort Rucker Army Emergency Relief at 255-2341, or their company commander or first sergeant for the proper paperwork. Call Piris for more Food Locker information.
Holiday Food Voucher
The Holiday Food Voucher Program is a garrison command program funded entirely by donations that provides food vouchers to Fort Rucker military and civilian Families in need, who have been identified through their respective military units and directorates. Families participating in the Holiday Food Voucher Program receive gift certificates to use at the commissary or at the Daleville Food Giant where they can purchase whatever they need for a holiday meal with the exception of alcohol, tobacco or pet food.
In 2006, the program provided $13,470 in food vouchers to the post community. Last year, 576 vouchers totaling nearly $18,000 were distributed between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Bobbie Moran, Emergency Food Program and Holiday Food Voucher Program facilitator said she expects this year's holiday food vouchers total may hit $20,000 or more.
Emergency Food Voucher
Emergency Food Vouchers are available throughout the year. Soldiers or Family members can apply directly to Army Community Service for the aid. This program is intended to provide short term (3 days) basic needs support and is limited to $50 once a year. Any need above this level is referred to Army Emergency Relief for assistance. For more information on the installation emergency food program, email Ruck.DMWR-ACS.
Every year, among the multicolor bulbs, garlands and bows that decorate Fort Rucker's Main Post Chapel lobby, there stands a small green Christmas tree. The branches of the tree, lit by simple white lights, are adorned not with ornaments or bows, but by little paper angels representing Fort Rucker children who, without the help of the post community, may not have a very merry Christmas.
Anyone can donate to post's Angel Tree program. Paper angels listing the gender and age of a Fort Rucker child can be picked up at the Main Post Chapel Monday - Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Gifts as well as donations of tape, wrapping paper and gift bags are greatly appreciated and will also be accepted during those times.
The last day to turn in gifts for the Angel Tree program is Dec. 16.
For more information about the Angel Tree program, call Therese Erthal at 255-9894.
Now that you know about the Support the Strong donation programs, select one or two for your Family to sponsor this year, and start a new holiday tradition.