Adopt A Wounded Warrior/Gold Star Family – Holiday 2018

UPDATE 11/22/18 –  SPONSOR APPLICATIONS ARE AT CAPACITY AND CURRENTLY CLOSED. WE MAY REOPEN DEPENDING ON NEED. IF INTERESTED IN BEING ON THE WAIT LIST PLEASE EMAIL ADOPTFAMILY2018@GMAIL.COM WITH YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE AND NUMBER OF CHILDREN YOU ARE WILLING TO ADOPT. WOUNDED WARRIOR OR GOLD STAR FAMILIES MAY APPLY THROUGH 11/29/18.

 PLEASE NOTE THERE ARE SOME CHANGES TO PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS/ELIGIBILITY FOR 2018. PLEASE READ THE FAQ BELOW BEFORE APPLYING.  

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Our goal is to help wounded warrior military families and gold star families in need with Christmas and Hanukkah presents for their children, along with a grocery gift card or prepaid Visa gift card for the family to purchase their holiday dinner and trimmings.  This is a great way to connect one on one with wounded warrior military families or gold star families to offer a special Thank You this holiday season by providing food and gifts.

Sponsor families, businesses, organizations or individuals who sign up here will be matched with a wounded warrior or gold star military family to help them have a great holiday meal and presents for their children. Please read FAQs section first and make sure you understand all terms and agreements to participate either as a sponsor or wounded warrior family.

Those eligible for adoption include U.S. Based active duty military personnel, career or medically retired military, or those honorably discharged from service who have been injured, wounded or acquired a disease during service with a 50% or higher service connection. Priority to post 9/11 service members & gold star families. Post 9/11 Gold Star Families are also welcome to apply. **If you are currently a family at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center some documentation requirements will be waived**.

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

If your questions are not answered here, please email adoptfamily2018@gmail.com

SPONSOR FAMILY/GROUPS

When do you start accepting applications for this program? Applications open on 10/1 at 9am PST and pairing notifications will begin 11/1.

What is a Gold Star Family?
A Gold Star Family are individuals who lost immediate family members in war or as a result of wartime injuries or time in service. For this program we are focused on Post 9/11 families having served in Iraq/Afghanistan. It is possible the surviving spouse may have remarried since the service members death. Our goal is to help the children of the deceased service member.

What am I expected to provide the families?
For each wounded warrior/gold star family adopted, you are to provide a minimum of $50-$100 food gift card for a holiday meal (depending on the size of the family), and a minimum of 1 gift for each biological or step-child under the age of 18 living at home in the amount of $25 – $50. All toys must be new and age-appropriate. We ask that you wrap the gifts and ship the presents to your family you are matched with, so the families can receive your gifts before the holidays. If you wish to purchase more items for each child you may, but this is not required. If you are in the local area of the family you have adopted, you may meet and exchange the gifts at a location that the family is comfortable with. 

We encourage all sponsors to ship items by December 15th to ensure delivery for Christmas. PLEASE ENSURE YOU CAN COMMIT TO MEETING THESE REQUIREMENTS BEFORE SIGNING UP. Remember to include the extra cost of shipping in your budget when selecting a family size.

What kind of food gift card should I buy?
We recommend contacting your family directly to see what grocery stores are around them and if possible purchase from one of those stores. You may also choose to buy the family a VISA/MasterCard gift card as well.

How soon do I need to tell you that I want to adopt families?
Our goal is to match families as soon as possible in hopes to give the sponsor and families enough time to plan. However, please note that the later you submit your request, the less likely that we will be able to match you with a family. We pair based on the size of family you wish to support first so please be patient as we find you the perfect family. This may mean that it will take a few weeks to match you up. Please be patient before contacting us on the status. We will begin pairing notifications on 11/1/18.

What happens after I apply?
Once you sign up we will do our best to pair you with a family that best fits (ie., size, location) based on what you specified in your application. You will get an email notifying you of the family and their information as well as what to do next. Please be sure to monitor your spam box for emails. It’s very common sponsors & families miss emails because of the dreaded spam box! We cannot guarantee that you will be paired with a family. But we will keep you updated throughout the process. Please note – if you are paired and fail to make contact with the family, we will make several attempts to reach you. If we do not get a response we will re-pair the family we provided you and will withdraw you from the program. To avoid this, please monitor your email and respond to messages promptly.

How do I know if you received my application?
When you have completed your application and clicked submit you will receive an on screen confirmation message as well as an emailed notification. If you did not receive these your application needs to be resubmitted. If you have trouble submitting your application please check to ensure you have the latest version of your browser, try submitting it from a desktop, or double check you are not missing any required fields. Applications are only accepted electronically. We do not have the ability to respond to individual requests to confirm if the application was received. Please look for the emailed notification.

Can I choose the size of the family?
Yes, you can choose the family size that best suits your family’s/groups ability to support. Remember to include the extra cost of shipping in your budget when selecting a family size.

Can I adopt multiple families?
Yes, you can adopt as many families as you would like as long as you can provide the minimum requirements to each family. If requesting to support a large number of families please email us at adoptfamily2018@gmail.com to notify and discuss.

Can I specify the location of the families?
Yes, you can request the State of the family you would like to adopt. However we cannot guarantee we can accommodate the request and you will be ultimately be matched with the best fit size family or remaining family still in need. Again, Remember to include the extra cost of shipping in your budget when selecting a family size.

Can I purchase items for the parents?
Yes you can purchase items for the parents but it is not required; however, it is expected when sponsoring a military family you will provide a gift card for the parents/guardians so they may purchase food, etc for the holiday meal.

Can I wrap the gifts?
Please gift wrap your gifts, if you are able, unless otherwise indicated by the family. If unable, we ask that you provide gift wrap and supplies to the family so they do not take on the extra cost.

Can I support a family that celebrates Hanukkah?
Yes. You will have the option to choose which holiday (Christmas or Hanukkah or both) you wish to provide support for.

Can I ask the family over to my house or request to meet them?
If the family is local, You can ask the family if they would be comfortable coming over to your house to meet or for dinner, to open the presents or deliver the items, but they are not required to do so to participate in the program. For the safety and comfort of the families we leave that up to them to decide. Please respect their decision.

How much contact with the family is allowed?
When you are paired you will be asked to email the family to let them know you are taking care of them. You may also contact the family (phone or email) for additional questions regarding the wish list or program related needs. They are not required to friend you on Facebook, come to your home for dinner, etc. If you have specific questions about screening and eligibility please direct them to Operation Ward 57, not the family. Please remember that asking very personal questions can be triggers for PTSD. Please respect the wishes of the family on the level of contact they are comfortable with. Also, please remember some families may communicate a lot, some may remain private. Please respect their wishes.

How do you screen the families?
All families are screened for participation in our Adopt a Wounded Warrior Family Holiday program. An application form and support documentation of income/need, disability and family size is provided to Operation Ward 57 volunteers.

How long does it take for you to match me with a family?
The wait time will vary. We will review applications thoroughly. We will match the families with the sponsor that best fits the sponsors request. Please allow up to several weeks to receive a response before contacting us. If it’s closer to the December deadline applications will be processed as quickly as possible to fill all needs.

Are my gifts tax deductible?
Because the gifts go directly to the family we are unable to provide you with a tax receipt. Please contact your financial adviser for any questions.

What do I do if the family asks me to purchase items for additional family members not listed in the application?
You are only required to purchase for the children listed in the initial pairing email. You are required to purchase gifts for each biological or step-child under the age of 18 living at home.  You are not required to buy presents for any child over the age of 18 years of age living at home. It is up to you to decide if you want to purchase gifts for an older child.  Families that request additional assistance beyond the pairing email are in violation of our program rules. Please notify us immediately of any behavior you feel is inappropriate.  As a reminder the sponsors are only required to provide a minimum of $50-$100 food gift card for a holiday meal (depending on the size of the family), and a minimum of 1 gift for each child in the amount of $25- $50. Gifts for parents are OPTIONAL.

The family has listed gifts over the $50 amount on the children’s wish lists. Do I need to provide these items? 
No, each family has been informed to include only wish list items ranging from $25 to $50 per child. Talk to your adopted family and find out other items that the child would want. You are under no obligation to purchase these expensive/name brand items for the child. 

Do you give my information to the family when they are adopted?
Yes, once you are paired with an adopted  family, we will send an email to the family letting them know that they are adopted. They will be given your email and phone number as a mean to contact you. We will not provide your address to the families. If they need it for thank you’s we ask that they contact you for that information or send us the thank you and we will forward it to you.

What happens if I cannot fulfill my obligation to the family that I have adopted?
If you are unable to send gifts and a gift card to the family due to personal reasons, please contact us immediately at adoptfamily2018@gmail.com and explain your situation. We must know so that we can get another sponsor for the family. We do not want the family to be left without gifts or a gift card once they have been notified that they were adopted. Please note all Adopt A Family correspondence with Operation Ward 57 will be through email. Our office will not be able to take calls regarding matters. Thank you for understanding.

 

WOUNDED WARRIOR/GOLD STAR FAMILIES

When do you start accepting applications for this program? Applications open on 10/1 at 9am PST and pairing notifications will begin 11/1.

How many wounded warrior/gold star families may sign up to receive help?
At this time we are accepting applications for up to 100 families, but we reserve the right to cut off or increase applications at any time.

What happens after I apply?
Once you sign up we will do our best to pair you with a sponsor that best fits your family based on what you specified in your application. You will get an email notifying you of the sponsor and their contact information as well as what to do next. Please be sure to monitor your spam box for emails. It’s very common sponsors & families miss emails because of the dreaded spam box! PAIRING NOTIFICATIONS BEGIN 11/1. Please note all Adopt A Family correspondence with Operation Ward 57 will be through email. Our office will not be able to take calls regarding matters. Thank you for understanding.

How do I know if you received my application?
 When you have completed your application and clicked submit you will receive an on screen confirmation message as well as an emailed notification. If you did not receive these your application needs to be resubmitted. If you have trouble submitting your application please check to ensure you have the latest version of your browser, try submitting it from a desktop, or double check you are not missing any required fields. Applications are only accepted electronically. We do NOT have the ability to respond to individual email requests to confirm if your application was received/approved. Please note all Adopt A Family correspondence with Operation Ward 57 will be through email. Our office will not be able to take calls regarding matters. Thank you for understanding. 

How will I know if I am approved?
We work hard to pair all qualified and approved families for the holidays. In the event we are unable to locate a sponsor for your family, we will notify you by email. Additionally, if you do not meet our eligibility criteria you will also be notified by email.

We are a wounded warrior/gold star family, what are the eligibility requirements to apply?
Those eligible for adoption include active duty military personnel, career or medically retired military, or those honorably discharged from service who have been injured, wounded or acquired a disease during service (50% VA Service Connection or Higher). Priority to post 9/11 era.  Applications from families with no children or Post 9/11 Gold Star Families will also be accepted. Sponsors are only required to provide gifts for each biological or step-child under the age of 18 living at home. This program is designed to support families in need based on low income or extenuating circumstances. Abuse of this program will result in denial of future applications.

*For Post 9/11 Gold Star Families We need documentation showing that the individual was released or discharge from active duty due to his or her death or documentation you are enrolled in a Survivor Benefit Program.

New for 2018 – Starting in 2018 families may only apply 2 years in a row before taking a year off. They may then reapply again after the third year.

What if I have divorced or separated from the service member? Can I still apply?
 If you are divorced or legally separated you may not apply as the former or separated spouse. The service member/Veteran should be living in the home (exceptions to this include if veteran is currently in inpatient or residential treatment, etc). If there is a need to provide the children with gifts for Christmas the service member/Veteran is encouraged to apply for assistance. This is done to prevent abuse of the program. Thank you for understanding.

Can we participate if our family celebrates Hanukkah?
Yes. You will have the option to choose which holiday (Christmas or Hanukkah) you wish to receive holiday support for.

We are a wounded warrior family/gold star, what documentation is required with our application?
You will be required to provide copies of DD214, VA Disability Rating, Explanation/Proof of Hardship, and all household Income Documentation (Proof of income includes VA disability pay, military retirement pay, food stamps, WIC, SSDI, child support income, spousal income and any other form of income received by the family).  You can upload the documents with your application or gather all items and email documentation to adoptfamily2018@gmail.com. Be sure to include your name in the email and when you submitted your application. If emailing please email all items at once. If you do not have the required documentation or submit incomplete documentation you will not be considered for the program. Please gather all info prior to submitting your application.

New for 2018You must provide a detailed explanation as to why the hardship/need and provide proof of hardship. Letters of support documenting need from a case manager will greatly increase chances for approval as will providing documents to substantiate a hardship situation. Examples of proof of hardship include – documentation such as a hospital bill, a past-due mortgage bill, or an eviction notice or a college tuition bill are usually sufficient. This program is designed to support families in need based on low income or extenuating hardship circumstances

*For Post 9/11 Gold Star Families We need documentation showing that the individual was released or discharge from active duty due to his or her death or documentation you are enrolled in a Survivor Benefit Program.

We are a wounded warrior family recovering at Walter Reed and we don’t have all the required documentation. Is that OK?
If you are currently a family at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center some documentation requirements will be waived. Please make note of that in your application or email us at adoptfamily2018@gmail.com. Be sure to include your name in the email and when you submitted your application.

The application asks for a family photo, is this required?
The family photo is not required but is very helpful to provide to the sponsor family as it allows them to personally connect more with you and have a visual of those they are helping. One photo is fine.

What information is provided to the sponsor group or individual?
Sponsoring families will receive your names, general description of injuries or service members date of death if a Gold Star Family, contact info, ages, sizes, wish list and family photo. The sponsor family will contact your directly to arrange delivery or request more information if necessary to fulfill your wish. You are not required to personally meet the sponsors. You are also not required to friend the sponsor on social media. If anything makes you uncomfortable – please kindly let your sponsor know and if necessary alert us at adoptfamily2018@gmail.com

How long do you store my application materials?
Please note all information submitted will only be kept on file during the current years program and will be deleted at the conclusion of the program or by December 31st. If you submitted information in prior years you will be required to resubmit with this years application.

Can I ask the sponsor to purchase items for additional family members not listed in the application?
NO! Your sponsors are only required to purchase for the children listed on the application. Sponsors are only required to provide gifts for each biological or step-child under the age of 18 living at home. Asking to support more family members, including those over the age of 18, nieces/nephews or grandchildren, places a burden on our sponsors. Requesting additional assistance is a violation of our program rules and may result in future applications for assistance being denied. As a reminder the sponsors are only required to provide a minimum of $50-$100 food gift card for a holiday meal (depending on the size of the family), and a minimum of 1 gift for each child in the amount of $25 – $50. Gifts for parents are OPTIONAL.

What do I have to provide on the wish list? 
If you do not provide enough detail on the wish list, the Sponsor may request a better list. If requested by the Sponsor, please give them a list of items so they may choose what is within their budget and abilities. Please do not put anything on your list that exceeds $50 per child such as computers, iPads, bicycles, video game systems or other expensive items or send them links to gift registries. The gift requests should range between $25 and $50 per child. Remember this is to help fill a need for families in need. If requesting clothing/shoes please provide sizes/favorite colors, etc. Requests for specific name brand clothing/shoes will be deleted from the list before being provided to your sponsor.

Do we have to send our sponsor a thank you letter? 
You are not required to send a thank you but it is HIGHLY ENCOURAGED!! It can be a simple email thank you or a card. Please contact your sponsor for their mailing address or you can send the card to us, and we will forward to your sponsor. Our address is Operation Ward 57, PO Box 80055, Seattle, WA 98108. Please be sure to include a note listing your sponsors name. You are required however to notify your sponsor that the gifts were received.

If your questions are not answered here, please email adoptfamily2018@gmail.com. No phone calls please.

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APPLICATIONS

WW Families it is recommended to apply from a computer vs mobile device

FOR WOUNDED WARRIOR/GOLD STAR FAMILIES SEEKING ASSISTANCE –   CLICK HERE (APPLICATIONS WILL OPEN 10/1)

FOR INDIVIDUALS/BUSINESSES/ORGS SEEKING TO ADOPT A WOUNDED WARRIOR OR GOLD STAR FAMILY – CLICK HERE (APPLICATIONS WILL OPEN 10/1) 

UPDATE AS OF 11/10/18 – SPONSOR APPLICATIONS ARE AT CAPACITY AND CURRENTLY CLOSED. WE MAY REOPEN DEPENDING ON NEED. IF INTERESTED IN BEING ON THE WAIT LIST PLEASE EMAIL ADOPTFAMILY2018@GMAIL.COM WITH YOUR NAME, ADDRESS, PHONE AND NUMBER OF CHILDREN YOU ARE WILLING TO ADOPT.

**Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance into the program or that you will be matched with a family.

 

If your questions are not answered here, please email ADOPTFAMILY2018@GMAIL.COM