The mission at the Armed Services YMCA of Fort Leonard Wood is to make life easier for military families. Operation Holiday Joy will do just that by providing 100 gift cards to help 100 military families purchase food for the holidays. Twenty-five dollars may not seem like a lot, but for a struggling family it will allow them to purchase a turkey, ham, or side dishes they would otherwise go without. We are not working alone on this project though, The Sergeant Audie Murphy Club is providing gift baskets of food and toys to these families as well.

Operation Holiday Joy began in 2004 when the ASYMCA collaborated with Woman’s Day Magazine in order to raise awareness of the needs of so many military families. Since then more than $1.3 million dollars has been donated, allowing the ASYMCA to distribute over 320,000 toys and 25,000 baskets of food for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Military families do struggle financially, many young enlisted men and women receive government assistance in order to make ends meet. The holiday season can add to an already stressful situation. This program, as well as many others, are designed with these families in mind. Being able to help families who have given so much already is what the holiday season is all about.