** APPLICATIONS FOR WOUNDED WARRIOR/GOLD STAR FAMILIES ARE NOW CLOSED. SPONSORS CAN STILL ADOPT BY CLICKING HERE**
PLEASE NOTE WE WILL BE USING A NEW PLATFORM THIS YEAR TO PAIR SO BE SURE TO READ ALL THE FAQ BELOW.
Our goal is to help wounded/ill/injured (WII) 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 WII 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 WII 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/ill/injured 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 children. **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 email@example.com
When do you start accepting applications for this program? Applications open on 10/1 for Wounded Warrior/Gold Star Families. Sponsors can sign up starting on 9/1 to be notified when they can begin picking families on the new platform.
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 while active duty. For this program we are focused on Post 9/11 families. It is possible the surviving spouse may have remarried since the service members death. Our goal is to help the surviving children of the deceased service member. Children must have been conceived prior to the service members death.
What am I expected to provide the families?
For each wounded warrior/WII/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 child under the age of 18 living at home in the amount of $25 – $50. All toys/gifts 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.
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.
What is the new Platform for 2022?
New in 2022 – We will no longer be pairing you with your family. Instead, YOU get to choose who you want to support! We will be listing families at the website (coming soon). From here you can browse through the eligible families and find the one that fits your giving capabilities. Once you select the family or families, you will receive an email within 48 hours with your family’s contact information and instructions for next steps.
What happens after I apply?
If you would like to be notified when families are available on the new platform please complete this FORM. Once the program is live you will then be able to go to the website and select your family(s). You will get an email within 48 hours from us providing 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!
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 consider the extra cost of shipping in your budget when selecting a family size.
Can I adopt multiple families?
Yes, you can adopt multiple families as long as you can provide the minimum requirements to each family.
Can I specify the location of the families?
The location of families will be listed on the new platform so that you can select a family close to you (if applicable).
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 family you will provide a gift card for the parents/guardians so they may purchase food, etc for the holiday meal. Some families will include a wish list for the parents. Again, this is optional.
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. Please note if the family does not hear from you at all, we ask them to reach out to you as well besides our attempts. This just ensures all bases are covered to allow you to sponsor.
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 need, disability and family size is provided to Operation Ward 57 volunteers. We do not do background checks or Google searches of families. If you find something that concerns you after being paired please direct it to our attention.
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 profile you select. You are required to purchase gifts for each child or step-child under the age of 18 living at the home. You are not required to buy presents for any child over the age of 17 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 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?
If they request it, we will provide your email address (and phone if provided).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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/WII/GOLD STAR FAMILIES
When do you start accepting applications for this program? Applications open on 10/1.
There will be 2 steps to complete your application this year. Step 1 – Submit an application below to confirm eligibility. Once approved, Step 2 – You will be provided a link to complete a profile on our giving website.
How many wounded warrior/gold star families may sign up to receive help?
At this time we are accepting applications for up to 200 families, but we reserve the right to cut off or increase applications at any time.
What happens after I apply?
We will review your application and once approved you will receive an email from us with a link to complete your profile on our new platform. Here you will list your wish list items and location. Once that is completed your profile will be available for sponsors to browse and adopt. We will keep your profile live until adopted. Please be patient waitig to get paired. Once a sponsor selects your family, you should receive an email from your sponsor. Please be sure to monitor your spam box for emails. It’s very common sponsors & families miss emails because of the dreaded spam box! 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 initial 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. Additionally, if you are getting an error try NOT attaching any documents and instead sending those in a separate email to email@example.com. Applications are only accepted electronically. If your application is denied or has any problems we will notify you via email. Generally, if you have not heard from us after you submit your application it means we are working hard to approve you. 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.
We are a wounded warrior/WII/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 child under the age of 18 living at home. This program is designed to support families in need based on low income or hardship 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. For this program we are focused on Post 9/11 families (spouse/children or grandparents/other family taking care of surviving children) having served in Iraq/Afghanistan or later. It is possible the surviving spouse may have remarried since the service members death. Our goal is to help the surviving children of the deceased service member. Children must have been conceived prior to the service members death.
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/WII/gold star, what documentation is required with our application?
You will be required to provide copies of DD214, VA Disability Rating, and Explanation/Proof of Hardship. You can upload the documents with your application or gather all items and email documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
You 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, job loss, 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. PLEASE BE DETAILED IN YOUR NEED IN YOUR APPLICATION.
*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.
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 needed.
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, 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 email@example.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 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?
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, 1201 Williams CT NW Orting WA 98360. Please be sure to include a note listing your sponsors name. You are required however to notify your sponsor that the gifts were received.
What happens if my sponsor backs out or doesn’t make contact?
This is a voluntary program and sometimes situations change for our sponsors and they need to withdraw their application. In most cases we will do our best to repair you with an available sponsor. We cannot guarantee you will be repaired. If your sponsor does not contact you within 1 week please let us know.. If it’s getting close to the Dec 10th shipping deadline and you have not heard anything PLEASE let us know versus waiting until last minute so we can do our best to ensure you get gifts in time.
If your questions are not answered here, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls please.
WW Families it is recommended to apply from a computer vs mobile device
FOR WOUNDED WARRIOR/WII/GOLD STAR FAMILIES SEEKING ASSISTANCE – CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION
FOR INDIVIDUALS/BUSINESSES/ORGS SEEKING TO ADOPT A WOUNDED WARRIOR/WII OR GOLD STAR FAMILY – CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION
**Submitting an application does not guarantee acceptance into the program or that you will be matched with a family. You application can also be revoked at any time for any reason by the organization.
If your questions are not answered here, please email email@example.com