Missouri’s National Veterans Memorial is making sure that local veterans will have an enjoyable Christmas holiday.
The organization is currently hosting its third annual Adopt-A-Veteran program this year.
“This event certainly keeps in the spirit of what we are trying to do, which is help the veterans as much as we can,” said Tracy Moore, events specialist and social media coordinator for MNVM. “For me personally, I feel blessed that I’m able to be a part of this event.”
Moore said she is working with eight local nursing homes and assisted living facilities, including three in Perryville, to collect wish lists from veterans on just what they would like for Christmas.
“Normally, they ask for clothing, like shirts, pants, and jackets,” Moore said. “There are a few requests that are out in left field.”
Each veteran is assigned an ornament on the Adopt-A-Veteran Christmas Tree in the MNVM Welcome Center. Visitors are encouraged to choose an ornament and provide the listed items for that veteran by no later than Dec. 11. Moore asks that all items be new and wrapped in patriotic wrapping paper and put in one large bag or box with the list provided attached. Volunteers from MNVM will distribute the gifts beginning on December 19.
Moore said that there are a total of about 120 veterans that are looking to be adopted this year.
“Visitors have already started to come by and pick out names from the tree,” Moore said. “Most of them have been visitors to the Welcome Center, but I’ve actually had two people contact me on Facebook to pick out a name. So we mailed that to them.”
Like most things this year, the Adopt-A-Veteran program has been affected by COVID-19.
Moore said that there was an assisted living facility in Jackson that the event worked with last year, but because of the pandemic, they are not allowing anything in the building from the outside world. She also said that some things, such as how they are allowed to send the gifts to the nursing homes in the area are sure to be changed.
“When we distribute the gifts, but currently we will have to go to the facility with the gifts and someone will meet us at the front door and we will just drop them off,” Moore said. “In year’s past, we’ve been able to actually give the gifts to the veterans, but everything is a fluid situation right now.”
However it turns out for Moore and her volunteers, she is thankful to be able to provide the service to the veterans during the holidays.
“For me personally, I feel blessed that I’m able to be a part of this event.” Moore said.