Help Canadian Armed Forces members this holiday season. Getting together over the holidays—those shortest days of the year—is one of the world’s oldest traditions. Even during last year’s pandemic restrictions, it was essential for families to gather in some way. Whether it’s a phone call, a Zoom dinner or even just a drink in the driveway, marking the holidays was still an essential part of so many people’s Decembers.

For the deployed members of the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), spending their holidays apart is all too commonly known. Their hard work often means they are away from their families for extended periods of time, and it is especially felt this time of year. Because we know that military families truly appreciate the privilege of being together, we’ve rounded up the many ways in which you can help CAF members feel a bit closer to home this holiday season.

Here are some of the ways that the Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services, the Royal Canadian Legion and Support Our Troops help to spread cheer to those far away from home this holiday season:

Operation Santa Claus: Will there be presents this year? Yes, thanks to the generous contributions of corporate partners and the organization of Canadian Forces Morale and Welfare Services. Holiday packages of snacks, gum and floss, accessories, games and other goodies are sent out to deployed CAF members worldwide. This way, those away from their loved ones can still wake up to something special on Christmas morning.

Bloomex Holiday Card Campaign: A thoughtful card with a kind word can go a long way. Every year, Bloomex provides Canadians with the opportunity to create virtual greeting cards for CAF members. These cards are free to create and design from a variety of templates. The campaign goal is to send one card for every active deployed Canadian soldier who is overseas this December, which could be as many as 3,000 women and men. Consider saying thanks and sending well wishes to the troops in a small but meaningful way.

Op Tiny Troops: Correspondence is all about making or maintaining a connection from a distance. If we can’t physically be together this holiday season, at least we can share our thoughts, art and prayers in the form a holiday card. Operation Tiny Troops organizes elementary school children to write and draw holiday cards of thanks to the troops. It’s heartwarming to the CAF members in deployment and it’s also impactful and inspirational for the kids.

Holiday Food Hamper Program: The Holiday Food Hamper Program helps make the holiday season more joyful. In 2020, the program supported 871 vulnerable members and families in 10 provinces. Launched in 2015, the program offers these members additional support when they may need it most. So many CAF members who were assisted expressed appreciation for the financial assistance, especially at such an overwhelming and stressful time of year. Your support to make another’s Christmas time bright can really help: a donation of $100 will provide a Holiday Food Hamper to a CAF member or couple, while a donation of $200 will provide a Holiday Food Hamper to a CAF family.

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