This month, First Sergeants on the Rock Island Arsenal will be making holiday gift lists, and checking them twice! While each sergeant may not be wearing a red suit and cap, their Army, Navy, and Marine uniforms will do just fine. Each are creating a holiday gift list and bringing it to the Family Advocacy Program office. You see, these sergeants try to know as much as possible about their soldiers, and their soldier’s kids. They know who is having a tough time making financial ends meet, who may be under emotional duress, and who is scheduled for deployment.
Each November, these First Sergeants bring their holiday “wish lists” for the soldiers within their unit to a meeting with Jenny Kerr, Family Advocacy Program Manager of Army Community Service. This annual meeting begins the holiday match making process between area businesses and individuals who have volunteered to help make the holidays merrier for local military families with special needs. Some local companies will adopt an entire family, and request the ages and sizes for all children and teens. Other donors will choose to provide gift cards for family holiday meals, and still others will purchase unwrapped toys, and place them in an Operation Toy Soldier barrel.
Now in its third year in the Quad Cities, Operation Toy Soldier is a community outreach of Veteran’s Funeral Care and WaterMark Corners Gifts and Stationery. New, unwrapped toys can be donated at Veterans Funeral Care, Trimble Pointe, 701 12th Street, Moline, or WaterMark Corners, 1500 River Drive, Moline, between October 26 and December 16th. On the final day of the toy drive, First Sergeants and staff from the Army Community Service program will arrive at Veterans Funeral Care and sort out donations based on the needs of the military families within their ranks.
“We have always been able to provide gifts for every family on our Sergeant’s lists because of the generous people who fill the Operation Toy Soldier barrels. This program is a blessing to our community,” shared Jenny Kerr.
Veterans Funeral Care is a division of Trimble Pointe Companies. Eric Trimble, President, shared, “We are collecting toys for local families where the father or mother might actually be deployed overseas this Christmas. Each toy represents one more way our community can thank our local military personnel for all they do for our country.” Call 309-764-1144, or contact www.trimblefuneralhomes.com; or
Photos courtesy of Trimble Funeral Homes
Programs and Key Services of Army Community Service at Rock Island Arsenal
- Family Advocacy Program
- Information and Referral
- Army Emergency Relief
- Survivor Outreach Services
- Sexual Harassment Assault Response Program
- Exceptional Family Member Program
- Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy Program
- Employment Readiness
- Financial Readiness
- Relocation Mobilization and Deployment
- Army Action Plan
- Army Family Team Building
Operation Toy Soldier Donation Ideas
- Building blocks/Legos
- Hats & Gloves
- Family friendly board games
- Kid-friendly keyboards
- Footballs, hockey sticks, baseballs
- Craft kits
- Teaching Toys
- Infant toys
- Art supplies
- Hand-held games
For more information, contact Jenny Kerr at Jennifer.firstname.lastname@example.org; 1-309-782-3049.