MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS -- “I believe that military families sometimes suffer and these types of programs will help offset some of the holiday costs that appear,” said Katrina Gonzalez, program manager, OHF.
OHF is a financial assistance program for veterans and active duty service members. They are based in San Diego and have representatives who travel all over California. The program receives corporate and individual donations that make their giveaways possible.
“We have our ‘back to school brigade’ in the summer and holiday parties in November and December,” Gonzalez said. “The only way that we’re successful is through our volunteers and partnerships with Marine Corps Community Services that make this event successful.”
Programs like OHF are designed to provide parents and family members with relief during hectic times of the year, like the back to school season or around the holidays. This year they accommodated approximately 250 children.
“I do think when you have 2 or 3 kids, a premium toy that we give to one child might be worth 15-20 dollars,” Gonzalez said. “That could be 60 plus dollars they’re getting from us, which could amount to a week’s worth of groceries.”
Through OHF’s partnerships with dollar tree and the National Charity League, military service members are able to continue to gain assistance and provide holiday joy for their families annually.
“There’s a lot of Marines out there who don’t have the opportunity to come to these events,” said Sgt. Jorge Altamiranosoto, motor vehicle operator, 1st Tank Battalion. “It’s mainly to help the junior marines, and even ourselves. Getting something extra always helps and people shouldn’t hesitate to come out here.”
For more information on how to get involved, visit operationhomefront.net or contact Michelle Hagge 858-242-4995.