From Backpacks to Backyards, Families Feel Operation Homefront Impact
Gratitude is at the heart of Operation Homefront’s mission to support our military community.
We are grateful every day to our military families for their work to protect the freedoms we – and all Americans – enjoy. On Veterans Day, 11/11, we take extra time to reflect on their sacrifices.
Through our 11 Days of Impact campaign, which runs Nov. 1 through 11, we are issuing a challenge to raise $350,000 so we can help more military families struggling to make ends meet.
We appreciate the individuals and partners that share our commitment to keeping our military and veteran families strong, stable, and secure – especially as family budgets strain in a tight economy.
The economic stresses often weigh disproportionately on our military families.
Because of our generous partners, our programs will reach significant milestones in 2023.
By year’s end our Critical Financial Assistance (CFA) program will fill its 55,000th request from families in need of aid with past-due bills, home repairs, food insecurity, and other temporary budget shortfalls. That represents over $40 million in financial relief to military families since the program began in 2011.
An Army veteran who served 11 years and deployed five times – three times to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan – applied to the CFA program when her home’s HVAC system failed.
“We were out of options,” said the North Carolina veteran who endured two sweltering summers and two chilly winters without heat or air along with her teenage daughter and niece. “We are so grateful for the help.”
A Coast Guard member and his wife expressed gratitude for the supply-filled backpacks their two daughters received at an event in Houston. Their daughters are among more than a half-million military children who have started school with pencils, notebooks, markers, and backpacks delivered through our Back-to-School Brigade program since 2008.
The backpacks represent a savings of nearly $60 million dollars to military families, not to mention the hours of saved shopping time.
The Houston parents, who along with their daughters have a baby boy, appreciate the relief, especially as rising costs for food and utilities make it harder to stretch their budget.
“We live on one income,” the Coast Guard spouse said. “Having the supplies is a great help at back-to-school time.”
She is among the more than 21 percent of active-duty military spouses who are unemployed, compared to the national unemployment rate of less than 4 percent.
A study last year by Blue Star Families showed active-duty and veteran families alike feel the strain of high housing costs. Military members transitioning to civilian life face an especially difficult journey as they become established outside the military.
“We were out of options. We are so grateful for the help.” – Army veteran who needed a new HVAC system
As a Navy petty officer wrapped up his military career after six years, the prospect of owning a home was a distant dream. In 2023, he and his wife and their two young children became one of 25 families to graduate from Operation Homefront’s Transitional Homes for Veterans (THV) program over the past five years.
Thanks to the generous support of donors, the THV program is on track to acquire its 40th home this year. The houses give recently separated veterans and their families a place to live rent- and utility-free for about three years. During that time, they reduce debt, build savings, improve credit scores, and become established in the community. About 80 percent of the families buy a home in the local area within a year of graduation.
The Navy veteran and his wife said the THV program helped them establish a secure future for their family.
“The program put us in a home that I am proud to say I own,” he said. “Without a doubt, I am in a better situation because of Operation Homefront.”
They purchased a home near their THV neighborhood in Crowley, Texas, and are looking forward to watching their 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son play in their new backyard and make memories in the home.
Our military families have earned our utmost respect and deserve our unfailing support for all they have done to serve us in our nation’s times of need.
With programs designed to provide relief and foster resiliency, Operation Homefront strives to support military families nationwide so short-term financial hardships don’t become long-term struggles. Our generous partners will ensure that we can continue to help our military families thrive – not just struggle to get by – in the decades to come.
For all they do, we are grateful.
We also appreciate each of our donors because every gift will help us secure stable futures for military families in the years to come. We extend special thanks to The Home Depot Foundation, Kohl’s, Impossible Foods, Love’s, Walmart, CSX, P&G, Meritage Homes, CarMax, Bob’s Discount Furniture, Daylight Wine & Spirits, Kellogg’s, Effy Jewelry, and Homefront Brands for their extraordinary generosity.