Dec 23, 2014 7:57 PM by Charlene Cheng
As a soldier with the California National Guard, Redding resident Jasper Waters works hard, but it's still not enough to provide his large family with a holiday celebration.
"It's very tight, even with my wife working it's still very tight, especially with six growing boys," he said.
Thanks to Homeward Bound and thousands of dollars in donations from the community, the Waters are just one of more than 40 military families that will receive meals and gifts this season.
"It's amazing, it's absolutely wonderful. This is a great great program. They helped us out with Thanksgiving too and it's just a great program," Waters added.
"These men and women have served this country faithfully, and this is our opportunity to say thank you to them and have them not fall through the cracks," said Rob Burroughs, founder of Homeward Bound.
Burroughs retired from the Navy after serving two tours in Iraq.
"Because of my health issues, the military medically retired me early and I wasn't ready to stop serving at that time, so this whole program is a continuation of this service," he said.
He adds that by providing food, families can put their money toward bills and other expenses, or in some cases, give them a chance to focus on looking for work.
"It takes a lot off my mind, that I don't have to worry about Christmas as much, and I can worry about finding a job and get going back in life again," said Marc Bergen, who retired from the Navy.
And for some veterans, this is just an unexpected holiday treat.
"I'm on disability. My expenses clear my income by four dollars, so there is no way I can do Christmas. I can't afford anything extra," said Robert Hartsock, a Desert Storm veteran.
2 days ago