Nearly a hundred Oklahoma veterans and their families need a hand this Christmas. However, through the Warriors for Freedom’s 3rd Annual Patriot Christmas, you can give back to these hometown heroes.
Working in coordination with the Homeless Alliance and Goodwill, the program identifies veterans and their families in need. Veteran John VanPelt is among those on the list this year.
Christmas just makes it that much worse,” VanPelt said. “Especially for my family, if it was just me, I wouldn't worry too much about it.”
VanPelt is slowly getting back on his feet, but he's not there yet. He spent two years in the Air Force before a medical condition forced him out. He turned to his passion of restoring cars and with the help of his wife, had hoped to make a career out of it.
”She let me go to Vegas and several different places to try and build cars, build hot rods, and it never panned out,” he said. “It's too up and down when you have a family to take care of.”
Now while looking for a mechanic job, he got connected to the Warriors for Freedom, which in turn help him find housing for his family.
“Patriot Christmas is just a small sliver of what we do,” said Amber Moulder, the executive director of Warriors for Freedom.
This year, 88 veterans need that help this year. The program puts out a wish list from the veterans and their families.
“Their pride is incredible,” Moulder said. “They've served our country and they've been conditioned to think a certain way, it's 'I can do it, I don't need your help, and I can figure this out.’”
Anyone can go online to adopt a family, then buy the items and drop them off at several locations in the metro. Or you can just donate any amount of money to be used to purchase the items.
“Whether it's one dollar or 500 dollars, it all counts,” Moulder said. “They pick up their gifts so the kids will have gifts under their tree when they wake up on Christmas morning.”
“It means a lot, a whole lot and me doing this I’m hoping that people can step up for other families that need this, the help,” VanPelt said.
The deadline to donate is November 30 and there are still dozens of items needed. If you would like to help, click here.