“The Christmas season was just around the corner and so were the holidays.
The joyous and blissful festival of Christmas reminds you of beautiful moments and happy memories celebrated in the past, giving you another chance to relive them and create new ones.
Every year, as the holiday’s approach, families around the world gather together to celebrate with festive decorations, feasts of all flavors and varieties and often also an exchange of gifts.
What’s very easy to forget during these times of feasting and celebrating is the fact that there are so many families in the State of Alabama and nationwide that are struggling just to put food on the table for the kids, holiday gifts and elaborate parties just aren’t in the picture for them.
They desperately need our help! No child ever chose to live in poverty. These are the "innocents." They are not responsible for their family's difficult circumstances, yet they must live each day of their young lives in ways that most of us would find appalling and unbearable. "
Through the generosity of all military personnel, businesses and companies and individuals we were able to provide and distribute from December 10 - 24, 2013 to twelve states under the federal prison system and the State of Alabama, the following to all clients under our Christmas is for Kids program for 2013:
· 30000 gifts of toys for the children.
· $1,283,639 worth of food, including complete Christmas Dinners for all families
· $791,914 worth of new clothing, including much needed winter clothing, were distributed to all families.
· $15120.00 worth of dog and cat treats, $9815.00 worth of veterinarian and grooming service gift certificates for dogs and cats for 200 hand sown stockings and $45,351.00 worth of 10 lb. bags of dog and cat food to each family for their pets.
· $45641.00 worth of personal hygiene items for each family. · 1040 Christmas Cards and donations of 2080 books of 20 stamps our postage for mailing and each card had a book of stamps included within for each recipient.
· $5681.00 worth of Christmas gift wrapping paper, bags and bows for all gifts and baskets for each family.
· $10,000 worth of gas gift cards for distribution and free rentals of 9 24 ft. vans to distribute the items to each family.
We would like to thank the 45 men and women of my former units in the U.S. Army, included the 20th Special Forces and the 101st Airborne Screaming Eagles, for volunteering their time and effort in helping to wrap gifts, put together baskets, load the trucks and distribute all gifts to children and families in all counties in the State of Alabama on December 23, 2013. As your former commanding officer, I must congratulate you because you still know how to follow my logistical battle plans. GO ARMY!
Through donations from department stores, clothing boutiques, clothing manufacturers and designers throughout the nation, we are able to provide 2000 clothing baskets chocked full of winter clothing for each of the 2000 family members.
Through donations from grocery stores, restaurants, fast food chains, and national food drives, we are able to provide 2000 laundry basket size food baskets for each of the 2000 families in our program. This includes the entire fixings for their Christmas Dinner.
We created "Santa Buddies" to help pet owners facing economic hardships feed their dogs and cats in their time of need. Our goal is to keep families and their pets together by providing supplemental food and other necessities for their dogs and cats this Christmas.
Through donations from Hartz Mountain, toysfordogs.com and DelMonte, we are able to provide 250 hand sown stockings filled with a Santa bag with 20 dental bones, a gift certificate for each pet for a free physical and shots from a local veterinarian hospital, a Santa bag of homemade bones and treats, three commercial treat bags of treats from petco, gift certificates for free grooming session for each pet, four stuffed toys and two 10 pound bag of either dog food or cat food will accompany the stockings.
We began delivering the gifts to the children throughout the state of Alabama at 8:00am on December 17-21, 2013 and to twelve states on December 10-16, 2013 and continued until the very last gift was in the hands of a child and their family.
All donations that we received that we did not needwere donated to the following social service agencies:
· Grace Episcopalian Church Christmas for the Woodlawn Community received 255 toys for their annual event.
· Christian Service Mission, through the Church of the Highlands, received 300 additional toys donated by The Marine Toys for Tots.
· The Secondhandlook Thrift store, under The Lighthouse for Recover Ministries, donated 251 pieces of clothing and shoes, 20 blankets and comforters, 198 toys to the residents of Woodlawn community.
· 415 toys were donated to the hospitals in Jefferson County and Calhoun County for children in the hospitals during the holiday season.
· 110 toys and clothing are being donated to the make a Wish Foundation to fulfill the Christmas wishes of chronically ill and dying children.
Angel Tree is the only national ministry to reach out to the children of incarcerated parents. An Angel Tree Christmas connects incarcerated parents with their children through the delivery of Christmas gifts.
Due to circumstances beyond our control and conflict of interest, we decided to withdraw our support for The Angel Tree Program in Dothan (Houston County) on December 16, 2013, and donated 115 gifts for the Angel Tree program in Calhoun County on December 21, 2013.
United States Marine Corps Foundation
We shipped 2000 stockings to our troops so far this year to our men and women who are serving their country abroad this holiday season.