Operation Holiday Hearts supports local keiki

| December 14, 2015 | 0 Comments

 

Spouses and Soldiers gathered at the Division Chaplain’s Office to volunteer their time and services to wrap gifts that were donated through the Operation Holiday Hearts program.  This holiday season the 25th Infantry Division started a program called Operation Holiday Hearts, where Christmas trees placed around brigade and battalion areas had cards containing a boy or girl’s needs for Christmas. Volunteers were able to pick a card from the tree and help provide gifts for the child for Christmas this year. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew G. Ryan, 25th Infantry Division, Public Affairs)

Spouses and Soldiers gathered at the Division Chaplain’s Office to volunteer their time and services to wrap gifts that were donated through the Operation Holiday Hearts program. This holiday season the 25th Infantry Division started a program called Operation Holiday Hearts, where Christmas trees placed around brigade and battalion areas had cards containing a boy or girl’s needs for Christmas. Volunteers were able to pick a card from the tree and help provide gifts for the child for Christmas this year. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Matthew G. Ryan, 25th Infantry Division, Public Affairs)

Staff Sgt. Matthew G. Ryan
25th Infantry Division

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — This holiday season, the 25th Infantry Division started a program called “Operation Holiday Hearts.”

Christmas trees were placed around brigade and battalion areas with cards containing a boy or girl’s needs for Christmas.

“The idea was adopted from ‘The Angel Tree Program,’ where people can pick angels off a tree and give gifts to children whose parent have been incarcerated,” said Lt. Col. Chul Kim, the division chaplain for the 25th ID. “We designed cards to be hung from Christmas trees where people could volunteer to pick one or more cards.”

The cards had the basic information for one child, such as age, gender and first name. The cards also included something the child needed and something he or she wanted.

“I was approached by many Soldiers before this who had the desire to help other families and Soldiers, but we didn’t have a program designed, yet, so we developed the Operation Holiday Hearts, “ Kim said.

The program started with reaching out to the brigades and battalions with the primary goal of finding families of junior enlisted Soldiers who might have had unforeseen issues, or families who where having a hard time living day-to-day and unable to provide gifts to their children for Christmas.

“We began with uncertainty of how many people who would actually step up and volunteer to get gifts for children, so we set limits to ensure everyone who was in the program would receive a gift,” Kim said. “Even with the limits, we had almost 500 children that were placed into the program and matched with someone who volunteered to give them a gift.”

Soldiers and spouses gather at the Division Chaplain’s Office to volunteer their time and services to wrap gifts that were donated for local keiki. Photos by Staff Sgt. Matthew Ryan, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

Soldiers and spouses gather at the Division Chaplain’s Office to volunteer their time and services to wrap gifts that were donated for local keiki. Photos by Staff Sgt. Matthew Ryan, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs)

“I know that there are a lot of children that don’t always have a good Christmas, and I wanted to help. I know how stressful holiday seasons can be,” said Spc. Devin Blume, a health care specialist, 225th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

“Not being married or having children, it was an experience going out and shopping for the little boy that I picked. At the end of the day, I felt like I had done something good for someone else,” Blume said. “I hope that they do it again next year, so my friend and I have the chance to volunteer again.”

Everything for Operation Holiday Hearts hinged on volunteers and donations from the 25th ID community. From the making of the cards, to the organizing of gifts and finally wrapping every gift with donated supplies, volunteers gathered to help.

More then 40 spouses and Soldiers dedicated their time and services from making the cards through wrapping the gifts.

“I wanted to come and support the Operation Holiday Hearts once I heard about it. I enjoyed giving back, and because of the outpouring of donations and support, a lot of children will have a good Christmas,” said Shelly Cabrera, spouse of Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Jim Cabrera, senior enlisted adviser, Division Artillery. “It just warms my hard to see so many people give and volunteer their time for support during this season.”

Point of Contact

For more details about upcoming services and ways to help donate to your community, contact the Division Chaplain’s Office at 655-0149.

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Category: Community, Community Relations

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