Vouchers provide financial relief during holiday season

28 Nov 2011 | Cpl. Miranda Blackburn

Every year, thousands of people look forward to the winter holiday season. However, there are many who dread Thanksgiving and Christmas because they can't afford to give their families the holiday meal they want.

The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune Chaplain's Office, with help from the USO of North Carolina-Jacksonville center, can assist those families who need a little help by providing holiday vouchers.

Two donations totaling $11,000 for both Thanksgiving and Christmas given to the USO of North Carolina-Jacksonville center made it possible to provide financial relief to Marines and sailors during this holiday season.

The USO distributes $25 commissary vouchers to command sergeants major aboard the base to disseminate to service members and their families with the greatest need.

"In spirit of Marines taking care of their own, the sergeants major reach out to the units to identify young Marines and their families who could use a little assistance in providing for a holiday meal," said Navy Capt. Milton D. Gianulis, Marine Corps Installations Command East command chaplain.

Unit leadership should make nominations to their sergeant major. Anyone wanting to apply for a voucher can speak with their chaplain who will make a nomination for them.

"Unfortunately, there are not enough resources to get every Marine and sailor a voucher, so priority will be determined by those who have the greatest need," Gianulis said. "Considerations are rank, number of children and such."

Eligibility to receive a voucher is as follows:

• Single-income families of active-duty Marines and sailors, (E-4 and below) with at least one child or other legal dependants who currently reside with the service member.

• Single income families of active-duty Marines and sailors, (E-5) with two or more children or other legal dependents who currently reside with the service member.

• Unit leadership may qualify families not otherwise eligible under the above guidance when special financial needs exist.

• Unit leadership are encouraged to qualify any family whose sponsor is deployed to combat operations during the holiday period and financial needs exist.

"It's important to share our blessings with those who give so much for our country," Gianulis said. "The intent is goodwill and holiday cheer."

For more information regarding holiday vouchers, call the MCB Camp Lejeune Chaplain's Office at 451-8691.