Digital art depicting two hands shaking.
Digital art depicting two hands shaking. (Photo Credit: Julian Temblador) VIEW ORIGINAL

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Many Soldiers stationed in the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria footprint are thousands of miles from loved ones this holiday season, often for the first time. Some also deal with limited financial means in the last few months of the year. USAG Bavaria and the Religious Support Office have a way to help.

Operation Helping Hand 2021 will occur this holiday season for the Soldiers and families in need of financial support. The USAG Bavaria RSO runs the program with monetary assistance from mission partners like Service Credit Union and the Defense Commissary Agency.

“When we see the joy in their hearts and smiles on their faces due to this small gift, we feel that we are fulfilling our call to care and serve our Soldiers and their families,” said Chaplain (Maj.) Abrahamyoungki Kim, chaplaincy resource manager with USAG Bavaria. “We are truly honored to have an opportunity like this to serve.”

According to Kim, USAG Bavaria assisted over 200 Soldiers during last year’s operation. Soldiers from Tower Barracks, Rose Barracks, Garmisch and Hohenfels received a DeCA gift card to help with holiday costs totaling $20,575.

This holiday season, USAG Bavaria RSO, Service Credit Union and DeCA contributed funds to ensure that Operation Helping Hand will successfully assist service members. USAG Bavaria is planning to distribute 700 DeCA gift cards to service members who are nominated by their units.

“I’m appreciative that the garrison Religious Support Office and our mission partners team up every year to provide our Soldiers with a little bit of assistance during the holiday season,” said USAG Bavaria Garrison Commander Col. Christopher Danbeck. “It’s just another way we can give back to our hardworking and deserving Soldiers and families. I hope that Operation Helping Hand offers all of us here in Bavaria the opportunity to better enjoy this holiday season.”

Across the USAG Bavaria footprint, every unit will have the opportunity to nominate Soldiers to receive assistance from Operation Helping Hand. Nominations must be submitted no later than Friday, Dec. 3, 2021. Once Soldiers are selected, the RSO will disseminate the gift cards through the tenant unit’s individual Unit Ministry Teams in the second week of December.

To nominate a Soldier for Operation Helping Hand, reach out to your chain of command, Unit Ministry Team or USAG Bavaria Chaplaincy Resource Manager.

Thanksgiving programs aimed at providing assistance to service members are also occurring. They are being run by the Senior Enlisted Non-Commissioned Officers in the USAG Bavaria footprint in collaboration with mission partners. For more information in regards to Thanksgiving programs, reach out to your chain of command.