The holiday season is a time for bringing families together. It is a particularly difficult period for military families whose loved ones are serving in war zones around the globe.
Two local organizations brought some much-needed holiday cheer to the families of veterans who are being treated for their wounds at Walter Reed Army Hospital.
Alexandrias Coats for Kids joined with the DC Metro chapter of Operation Homefront to host a holiday party for the children of those veterans last weekend. Coats for Kids brought the coats, scarves, gloves and stuffed Snoopies, and Operation Homefront brought stockings filled with goodies and gift cards to purchase the necessities that some of these families are without.
All of these families are living on the campus at Walter Reed in hotel-like houses. Many of them have been at Walter Reed for as long as a year while their husband or wife is being treated for wounds suffered in Iraq or Afghanistan, said Paul Darby, president and founder of Coats for Kids.
Operation Homefront works with all military families, providing emergency assistance of all types. This party is just one of the things we do to support the families of our service men and women, said Cindi Bookout, who is a volunteer with Operation Homefront.
We step in when Murphys Law takes over when your husband or wife is traveling, something always happens. The car breaks down or the heating system stops working or you lose your job or there is some medical emergency at home. Thats why we are here.
More than 75 children attended the party last weekend, ranging in age from 3 months to 16 years.
Everyone got coats and most of the children took home a big Snoopy, Darby said. Watching their faces when they got their presents was truly rewarding.
Both Coats for Kids and Operation Homefront are supported entirely by private contributions. For information about how to get involved, visit their Web sites: www.coatsforkids.org and www.operationhomefront.org/dcmetro.