The Holiday Season 2020 arrived well into the ongoing pandemic and we were unable to deliver any outside gifts which include new or used toys, clothing, food, trees, ball gowns, etc. to any currently enlisted and/or their families or at any U.S. military base due to protocols set due to COVID. Because of this, our annual, in-person “The Big Thank You” event at Camp Pendleton was not possible but we know that many of our enlisted and their families are being challenged by financial, emotional, and health issues at this time (especially as it looked as though California was heading into another ‘shut down’ due to COVID). Many people do not know that many of our enlistees and women based here in California only can make ends meet by having a second job. With 2020’s previous business closures, furloughs, etc. and without a clear end in sight; our military and their families were suffering without the additional income that a second job brings.

Yes, it is sad that this is the case for our military, but it is the truth. Since we were unable to hold our ‘personal event,’ our plan was to accept donations from concerned citizens, organizations, and companies and distribute those donations directly to the families nominated for our program. The donations were delivered to forty-five ‘adopted’ families by way of a $350.00 prepaid debit card. In return, we asked the enlisted family to take a photo with their ‘debit card’ to be sent to the sponsoring family or organization with basic family information about the ‘adopted’ military family. This is not how our program liked to work but how it could help during this challenging time.

“The Big Thank You” event, even without our ‘in-person’ event, is the perfect event and time to show appreciation to our young Marine and Navy families based at Camp Pendleton, California, Air Base MiraMar, and our Wounded Warriors at Balboa Hospital. By adopting a Military family for the Holidays, you provide emotional and spiritual support in very tangible ways. Please, feel free to share this with your friends and family. We continued in the spirit of “The Big Thank You” event during the remaining days of November, the month of December and into January 2021; the connections that were made between our sponsor families and our Marine and Navy families still rang as special.

Dance Hearts/Bells of Freedom is a recognized 501 (c) 3 Public Charity with a GuideStar ‘Gold’ rating that supports military families with emergency care throughout the year and of course, holds our biggest event of the year in our “The Big Thank You” event each December. Dance Hearts/Bells of Freedom has no paid Principals, Directors, staff, or volunteers and is 100% funded by private donors. One hundred (100%) percent of revenue collected by Dance Hearts/Bells of Freedom earmarked for military emergency care or holiday support goes directly to the military families we serve.