Kristin Lowe, Center Director, and Jennifer Hodur, Field Programs Manager and Manager of Families of the Fallen, discussed Liberty USO, The USO of Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The chapter serves active duty military and their families, including the thousands of activated National Guard who are stationed or who are sent to PA on training missions. Their primary Philadelphia site is at the Philadelphia International Airport, helping military and families passing through on another deployment with food and comfort. For the military they offer showers, cots, clean clothes and computer time, videos, games and movies. Families can find diapers, toys and supplies and volunteers ready to help. For parents deploying without their family, the USO will help them record a video of them reading a book, the book and video are then sent to their kids at home. The Families of the Fallen is another service at the airport, the closest commercial airport to Dover where fallen military are returned to them. Volunteers are with them through the journey.
Kristin and Jennifer spoke of their volunteers, they donate thousands of hours each year manning the airport site, packing care packages to send to the deployed local military, creating ‘Battle Buddy’ kits for moms and dads at Mother’s and Fathers Day, back-to-school backpacks for military kids. They also help families connect through Coffee Hours, family events and fishing events. For military spouses whose career has been put on hold, they offer resume help and employment counseling.
They discussed their needs, financial help allows them to expand their services, volunteers staff events and sites and in-kind donations of snacks, paper products and toiletries keep the Airport Center stocked. They are also in need of toys for their annual holiday party; they will be the recipient of the Beasley station 92.5 XTU’s annual Toy Truck Parade.
They also talked about events, including the October 14 Swing Dance on the Battleship New Jersey, a fun evening of dancing, silent auctions, swing dancing displays and BBQ. ‘40s styles are encouraged but not expected, just plan on having a fun evening under the stars on the riverfront.
Tickets are available at libertyuso.org