Many of us look forward to spending time with family and friends during the holidays. But sometimes it’s just not that easy for our troops to do the same if they’re stationed thousands of miles away, can’t afford the plane ticket home, or are in the middle of training.

Thankfully, there are a lot of really great programs that can help connect your family to those service members to provide them with a little piece of home.

Several bases and surrounding areas offer Adopt a Service Member programs. If you’re interested in participating, you may need to make a few phone calls, but the time spent will be worth it. Some programs have specific names like “Operation Home Cooking,” “Adopt a Marine,” “Adopt a Soldier,” etc. 

I always recommend starting with your closest ASYMCA (Armed Services YMCA) or your nearest USO office. If that doesn’t yield any results or none of those are nearby, contact your local base installation public affairs office. Maybe even spend a few minutes Googling your city and some of those keywords to see if an article in your local newspaper pops up with more information and links.

I’ve signed up — what’s next?

You may be a bit nervous about hosting troops you don’t know. I found a great list of some recommended do’s and don’ts from the Army MWR page, and then added some of mine below.

Army MWR’s Do List

Army MWR’s Don’t List

My List

All in all, have fun with this. It’s a wonderful way to give back to our service members. Enjoy the day!

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