On July 4th, America will celebrate it’s 242nd Independence Day, commemorating our country’s adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776.
While many will be celebrating the holiday by donning stars and stripes or watching fireworks in the night sky, it is important that we as a nation remember what we are celebrating- freedom. We are the land of the free, because of the brave.
Founded in 2002, our nonprofit partner Operation Homefront is a national 501(c)(3) whose mission is to “Build strong, stable and secure military families so they can thrive-not simply struggle to get by- in the communities they have worked so hard to protect.”
Proudly rated a Four Star Charity for 11 years in a row now, they are the service provider of choice for military families who have sacrificed to keep our nation safe, but struggle themselves either financially or emotionally. For many military families, their support systems live across the country and they do not have familiar faces around to reassure or assist through challenging times- that is where Operation Homefront comes in.
While this hard working nonprofit is national and provides programs and services to military families across the country, with 21 field office locations serving all 50 states, the field office that oversees all of North and South Carolina is located right here in Charlotte. And this is no small task, with NC and SC being home to multiple large bases for each arm of the of Department of Defense including Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force.
Did we mention that the Charlotte office only has one full time employee? The rest of the work that is done to provide for these families in NC and SC is done by volunteers in the area that donate their time to helping build these strong, stable and secure military families.
Operation Homefront’s mission is reflected in their offered programs and services which break down into three focuses:
Relief, Resiliency, and Recurring Family Support.
They provide RELIEF through their Critical Financial Assistance program and transitional housing programs , RESILIENCY through permanent housing and caregiver support groups, and RECURRING FAMILY SUPPORT through annual programs and touch points with the military families throughout the year.
Since the Critical Financial Assistance program’s inception, Operation Homefront has provided more than $20 million to families which has been able to fulfill over 35,000 requests from families across the United States.
Financial Assistance does not look the same across the board, but the most common of these requests are for assistance paying rent/mortgage, affording the cost of utilities, and the expense of groceries for the family. Operation Homefront has placed nearly 600 families in mortgage-free homes and has provided over $48 million in deeded value to military families.
One of Operation Homefront’s most successful, annual programs is the Back-to-School Brigade. This program encourages volunteers to donate school supplies in order to assist military families in preparing for the new school year ahead. These supplies and packed bookbags will be given out military families at distribution events close to the start of the new school year. (Want to help shop for the Back-to-School Brigade? Visit Operation Homefront’s Wish List and shop for GOOD.)
This Fourth of July, while you are donning those stars and stripes, do not forget why. Let us celebrate the families who have sacrificed so much to keep our homefront peaceful and safe, and who may be in need themselves because of those sacrifices.
Next week, on July 4th, Operation Homefront’s Charlotte office will distribute over 250 patriotic sand buckets filled with bubbles, glow sticks, and more so that the military families that they serve can have a little fun while celebrating this important holiday too.