From their San Antonio office on North IH 35, Operation Homefront Texas serves all branches of the military--18 bases, the Reserves, and 100 National Guard divisions--throughout the entire state of Texas. With the help of volunteers, President Jennifer Cernoch, and her relatively small staff, take 'goodie' bags to soldiers leaving Fort Hood for Afghanistan, and give out Easter baskets to military families at Fort Bliss--just for starters. The primary mission for Operation Homefront Texas is to provide emergency financial and other assistance to service members, wounded warriors and their families. So, when Cernoch says they're "running a hundred miles an hour," she means it.
is a national nonprofit created in 2002 in response to a desire to support the families of deployed service members immediately following 9/11. The organization currently provides services to military families across the nation through 23 chapters serving 27 states.
Operation Homefront serves a niche centered around military families with emergency
financial needs. Ninety percent of families served are those lowest-paid enlisted ranks, E-1 to E-6. These are usually young families living on small budgets, with sometimes large problems due to deployment, relocation or the medical needs of a wounded service member. Most requests for financial assistance are for help with emergency auto repairs, food, home repairs and rent or mortgage. Sometimes financial assistance is needed as a family transitions into civilian life--for which the military gives no real support. Every application for assistance requires documentation and is vetted for critical level of need. Any money is paid directly to the service provider. A family may be helped twice, but is then referred for financial counseling.
While the emergency financial assistance comprises a major portion of their "Wheel of Service," Operation Homefront considers the holiday programs and community events to be 'morale' events providing much needed emotional support and education for military families. Last year, the Jolly Holly program gave Christmas gifts and toys to more than 14,000 military family members state-wide!
Cernoch's enthusiasm is catching and growing up an Army brat, I have a soft spot for helping military families. After I sat with her on President's Day for this interview, I felt like shouting " Everyone, this a great organization!" Operation Homefront gets support from people like you and me, businesses and corporations, and grantmakers. They use a diverse, and dedicated group of volunteers. They can take most any material donation such as baby items, toiletries, school supplies and nonperishable food items.
Everything Cernoch told me about the organization's processes, and with 95% of their income going to the troops and their families, this is a very well-run nonprofit. If you'd like to get involved
Follow @OP_HomefrontTX on twitter
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Visit their website
San Antonio activist and nonprofit veteran Laura Carter believes in enabling the community to work from the heart, not just the wallet. During her time at the San Antonio Area Foundation, Laura implemented new technology, managing website design and content for all published materials. She introduced multimedia and social media into the communications plan, increasing the community's participation in the Foundation's programs. She is now Communications Director at Providence Catholic School. Visit her personal blog A Small Blog
Photo credit goes to Operation Homefront Texas