Merry Meals and Holiday Cheer For Our Military `Ohana
Every year during the holiday season the Armed Services YMCA Hawaii collects and distributes generous donations of food, commissary gift cards, and toys to military families in need through Operation Holiday Joy. Donations of food and gifts are collected by community partners such as military units, businesses, civic clubs, church groups and schools. Donations are dropped off to our offices in November and December where teams of volunteers stuff Operation Holiday Joy baskets full of delicious food and presents. The baskets are then picked up by a command representative and gifted to military families who are experiencing extreme hardship or financial difficulty.
Operation Holiday Joy is open to military families from all five service branches including the Hawaii National Guard and the Reserves. Last year, through generous community support, 2,854 military families in need were gifted Operation Holiday Joy Baskets during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Armed Services YMCA Hawaii partners with military commands, chaplains, other military family support agencies, and school counselors to identify families in need of assistance. Each military unit or command provides one point of contact to submit referrals to Armed Services YMCA Hawaii using the following guidelines:
E-5 and below
- Single parents who are experiencing extreme hardship or financial difficulties.
- Couples with or without children who are experiencing hardship or financial difficulties.
E6 and above
- Couples with children experiencing extreme hardship or financial difficulties as determined by their command.
Each command provides Armed Services YMCA Hawaii with information on the referred family, a unit representative for their unit’s referrals, and the contact information for the individual(s) responsible for picking up Operation Holiday Joy basket and delivering to the families. Referrals must be submitted to Armed Services YMCA Hawaii no later than November 15, 2019 for Thanksgiving and December 13,, 2019 for Christmas so that we can provide baskets for all families in need. The pick-up date for the baskets will be on November 22 & 25, 2019, 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and December 19 & 20, 2019 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at your local Armed Services YMCA Hawaii Branch office. Email Lika Baugh for the Operation Holiday Joy referral form: MBaugh@asymcahi.org.
Volunteer Opportunities and Donation Items
Military units, businesses, civic clubs, church groups and schools are invited to become a community partner by collecting food items or monetary contributions that will be used in Operation Holiday Joy baskets. We have a limited supply of boxes that are available on a first come, first serve basis as well as Operation Holiday Joy donation box labels. Volunteers are also needed to help assemble Operation Holiday Joy baskets for distribution. To host a Operation Holiday Joy food/gift drive or to volunteer in assembly of Operation Holiday Joy baskets, please contact your local Armed Services YMCA Hawaii Branch Director or point of contact.
Food Items for Operation Holiday Joy Baskets (November & December)
- Canned/Dry Gravy Mixes
- Canned Cranberry Sauce
- Canned Corn
- Canned Green Beans
- Canned Yams
- Cream of Mushroom Soup
- Canned Evaporated Milk
- Boxed Stuffing/Dressing Mix
- Boxed Mashed Potatoes
- Onion Strings
- Jell-O Pudding Mixes
- Fruit/Pumpkin Pie Filling
- Packaged Pie Crust
- Mini Marshmallows
- Cake/Cookie Mixes
- Commissary Gift Cards ($25)
Suggested Gift Items for Operation Holiday Joy Baskets (December Only)
- New Educational Toys
- New Puzzles/ Books/Coloring Pens/Pencils
- New Dolls/Trucks
- New Character Blankets/Pillows
- Food gift cards (Mc Donald’s)
- Gift Cards Jamba Juice/ Starbucks
- Gift Cards Amazon/ITunes
Please deliver all donations to your local branch office by November 15, 2019 for Thanksgiving Operation Holiday Joy Baskets and December 13, 2019 for December Operation Holiday Joy Baskets. If you are unable to deliver your items please call us to arrange a time and date for one of our staff members/volunteers to pick up your donations.
Timeline and Contact Information
- October 15-November 15: Thanksgiving Operation Holiday Joy Food Drive
- November 15: Drop off donated food and commissary gift cards to local ASYMCA Hawaii Branch
- November 15: Command/Unit referrals (names of military families in need) due to local ASYMCA Hawaii Branch
- November 18-21: Volunteers assemble Operation Holiday Joy Baskets at local ASYMCA Hawaii Branch
- November 22 & 25: Command/Unit Representatives pick up Operation Holiday Joy Baskets for Distribution
- November 18 – December 12: Christmas Operation Holiday Joy Food Drive
- December 12: Drop off donated food, commissary gift cards, and toys to local ASYMCA Hawaii Branch
- December 12: Command/Unit referrals (names of military families in need) due to local ASYMCA Hawaii Branch
- December 16 – 18: Volunteers assemble Operation Holiday Joy Baskets at local ASYMCA Hawaii Branch
- December 19-20: Command/Unit Representatives pick up Operation Holiday Joy Baskets for Distribution
Armed Services YMCA Hawaii on Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam: (808) 473-3398 and email@example.com
Armed Services YMCA Hawaii on Marine Corps Base Hawaii: (808) 254-4719 and firstname.lastname@example.org
Armed Services YMCA Hawaii on Wheeler Army Airfield: (808) 624-5645 and email@example.comFor more information contact: Lika Baugh, Director of Programs, (808) 473-3398 or email MBaugh@asymcahi.org.