Monday, 22/1/2018 | : : UTC-5
Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Boot Campaign spreads holiday cheer

Boot Campaign spreads holiday cheer

Sara Escobar

Evening Star

This week was a riveting one for the city of Harker Heights and surrounding areas. Multiple businesses and affiliates rallied together to help provide struggling families with gifts just in time for Christmas.

The Boot Campaign, a non-profit, Texas-based organization that caters to the military, announced a National partnership with the Armed Services YMCA, along with Operation Homefront, to provide aid to families in need.

The Armed Services YMCA, located at 110 Mountain Lion Road, in collaboration with the Boots Campaign, gave three families presents for Christmas on Monday, December 18. This year was the first that the Heights’ YMCA had been selected, and was awarded the opportunity to select three local  families in need.

The presentation took place at 12 p.m. at the center. Chris Talcott, VP of Operations was in attendance, along with Shelly Kirkland, CEO of the Boots Campaign, who helped distribute gifts to the families. Key leadership staff from the Armed Service YMCA in Killeen included Sheri Yerrington, Executive Director and Travis Knight, Associate Executive Director.

“We are honored to have been chosen to be partnered with a wonderful organization such as the Boot Campaign,” said Knight, “and to help support our military families with the Santa Boots program and provide them with joy this holiday season.”

Photo by SARA ESCOBAR
The Delossantos Family was one of three selected to receive presents from the YMCA and the Boot Campaign on Monday, December 18. They are pictured with staff from the YMCA and CEO of the Boot Campaign.

The families presented with gifts included the Delossantos’, with two daughters and one son, the Vann’s, with one daughter, and the Rinehart’s who have three sons.

Then, on Wednesday, December 20, Operation Phantom Support hosted their 4th annual toy giveaway, “Toys for Troops”, at 315 E. Ave C in Killeen.

Each year, Operation Phantom Support distributes toys to the families of active duty or honorably discharged veterans to help spread holiday cheer in the Central Texas military community.

Gifts are collected in conjunction with Operation Once in a Lifetime and this year, 800 children will be receiving toys and games as well as candy that will be handed out by volunteers. Parents sign up their children online once registration opens in mid-November and must provide proof of service and parenthood. Once received from Operation Once in a Lifetime, toys are sorted according to age and parents are given specific arrival times to help efficiently distribute toys during pick up. Live music was provided by local veterans during pick up as well to help put everyone in the holiday spirit.

Operation Phantom Support is a non-profit organization that was created to assist Active Military and Veterans and has been operating in Central Texas since 2013. Some of the ways that they reach out in the Central Texas military community are The Nancy Miller Food Pantry, Operation Phantom Cakes, Toys for Troops, Operation Re-Supply, Operation Monkey Wrench, and Infinite Possibilities, a program for disabled young adults.

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