Chapels, Local Community Gives to Soldiers, Families – Fort Carson Mountaineer

“It’s a great joy to give back to the community. There are incredible benefits that come with it. We have the joy of giving to soldiers and their families, and at the same time, we are reducing some of the stress felt at this time of year.

— Lt. Col. Ric Brown

Fort Carson Religious Support Office

FORT CARSON, Colo. — Maj. Georgel Oanca, brigade chaplain, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, gives a turkey to a soldier from the 4th Infantry Division to help contribute to Thanksgiving meals on Nov. 19, 2021. The Fort Carson Religious Support Office and various unit chaplains distributed $170,000 in holiday gift cards and food as part of Operation Holiday Helping Hands to help families respect their budget during the holiday season. (Photo by Sgt. Ashton Vide)

FORT CARSON, Colo. — The Fort Carson Religious Support Office (RSO), in conjunction with numerous community partners, donated nearly $170,000 in food and gift cards to help support nearly 1,000 soldiers and their families at Fort Carson.

The Fort Carson RSO has Operation Helping Hand, which helps soldiers throughout the year who need a little support due to various financial needs. Soldiers can receive up to $250 in Commissioner’s Gift Cards to offset food expenses in the event of a financial emergency.

Each year, the Fort Carson RSO organizes Holiday Operation Helping Hand. The intent is to provide a little extra to soldiers and their families to help cover some of the holiday meal expenses.

“Operation Helping Hand Holiday, along with the other food donations, allows soldiers and their families who would otherwise kill their food budget for a holiday meal, can eat a holiday meal and not see their budget. groceries suffer at the same time,” said Lt. Col. Ric Brown, Garrison Chaplain, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Carson. “The holidays are designed as a time to bring joy and create memories, which reduces financial stress during this time of year that often requires an increase in budget.”

During the Holiday Operation Helping Hand 2020 event, Fort Carson distributed 600 $100 gift cards totaling $60,000 to soldiers and their families. For the 2021 holiday season, Garrison Commander Col. Nate Springer challenged Brown to increase that amount to $100,000.

Brown accepted the challenge and planned to give more commissary gift cards to soldiers and families at Fort Carson.

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Turkeys donated by community partners sit in a vehicle waiting to be distributed to soldiers and families at Fort Carson for their holiday meals.  (Photo by Sgt. Ashton Vide)

FORT CARSON, Colo. – Turkeys donated by community partners sit in a vehicle waiting to be distributed to soldiers and families at Fort Carson for their holiday meals. (Photo by Sgt. Ashton Vide)

“It brings great joy to give back to the community,” Brown said. There are incredible benefits that come with it. We have the joy of giving to soldiers and their families, and at the same time, we are reducing some of the stress felt at this time of year.

The intent was that if donations from community partners did not meet this goal, the chapel tithe and offerings would cover the remainder.

Each year, various local community partners donate funds to Operation Helping Hand to support the Holiday Operation Helping Hand event.

The word started to spread when people who were part of the annual community partners started sharing with others interested in providing help how they could help. As a result, individuals and community partners donated over $120,000 to the Holiday Operation Helping Hand fund. Tithes and offerings from the chapel have contributed over $50,000 to the RSO Holiday Operation Helping Hand fund.

Through financial donations from community partners and tithes and offerings from the chapel, the Religious Support Office was not only able to increase the number of soldiers and their families supported, but the RSO also increased the amount given to each soldier and their families identified by their unit chaplain, in liaison with the unit command teams. This year, Operation Holiday Helping Hand offered each identified soldier and their family a $150 gift card.

“Year after year, we always hear how amazed soldiers and families are that someone really cares about them,” Brown said. “They are touched by the donations from the community. They are able to create memories in a way that doesn’t have the stress of straining their budget. »