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Sprinkling Some Joy for 12 Days of Christmas Service Pt. 1

Updated: Feb 13

It's the most wonderful (and anticipated!) time of the year for United In Service Coalition as we kick off our annual 12 Days of Christmas Service extravaganza! We all wait eagerly for this event every year, and we know our community feels the same way too. From capturing cheery family portraits to festive movie nights, to being jolly Santa's helpers for our deserving veterans and community members by providing delicious meals, gifting toys and other necessities, it was a time that sprinkled magic all around.

Our hearts were filled with warmth and happiness, and there was no shortage of joy and laughter as we fulfilled our mission of aiding veterans and under-resourced families in the community during the holiday season. Despite the hustle and bustle, we find joy in the ability to bring cheer to those who may not experience the festive spirit this time of year. Our aim is to create a more connected community that supports and respects our veterans and local communities through nurturing relationships 365 days a year, and the 12 Days of Christmas Service is a testament to that mission. We bring the merriment all month long!

Our first event had us jingling all the way to our Holiday mini photo session, which was just the warm-up act for our big 2023 12 Days of Christmas Service! We teamed up with our trusty photographer, Andrew, at Fontenot Photography to bring a signature event that's always a hit with families, UISC members, and the community. Our festive setup was at a scenic park, complete with coffee, hot chocolate, and tunes to get everyone feeling merry and bright. Whether you wanted to rock matching PJs or snap a new family portrait, we had you covered! And the best part? Those in attendance got a complimentary 8x10 photo to take home, on us! It was the perfect time to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and get into the holiday spirit!

On the second day of our 12 Days of Christmas Service, we deployed Operation HAVU (Hook A Veteran Up)! Our mission: to spread love and aid veterans transitioning from homelessness to stable housing. Since UISC was established to assist military members in transitioning to civilian life, this day held significant meaning for our organization. Many individuals may not grasp the challenges that veterans encounter upon returning home from their service, feeling lost, homeless, and at times overlooked. This is why, especially during the holiday season, it is crucial for us to give back and ensure that they feel acknowledged, understood, and valued.

To achieve this goal, we put together special "Welcome Kits" loaded with essentials to make their transition to stable housing easier. The day was filled with delicious breakfast treats and sweet surprises for the veterans. Collaborating with Becoming Kings and Queens, United in Service Coalition also worked with Combined Arms to connect with the veterans of Cloud Break to complete our mission. It was an absolute blast! We partied with music, shared our mission and took some Insta-worthy snaps together.

The stories we heard were raw, inspiring and truly touching. For those who may not be familiar with military life, it was an enlightening experience. We are thrilled to have made deep connections with our brothers and sisters in arms, and we hope to make this a more impactful event for years to come. We are grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in their lives and add value to their journey towards a better life.

Next up, it was time to help bring some holiday cheer to our local elementary school students! We teamed up with the Northeast Houston Redevelopment Council and Travis Manion Foundation to bring students at our local schools the experience of Trivia with Santa! Our team went full speed ahead, bringing toys and treats for all the kiddos. We also made sure to weave in some of our 'Character Does Matter' curriculum, throwing in trivia questions on gratitude, love, kindness, peace and joy. Plus, we couldn't forget the fun questions about Santa and his trusty reindeer! The kids were thrilled, and we even had a few rebels trying to unveil, who exactly is Santa? So, the elves had to put Santa into "witness" protection! All in all, it was a blast to see the kids' excitement and even watch some of them bust a move with Santa. We're grateful to have partnered with our local schools for years and were excited to welcome a new school to the party this year. We are passionate about broadening our reach and illuminating our mission to offer opportunities for personal development and educational workshops within our communities. Most importantly, we focus on inspiring future generations to carry on our mission in the years ahead.

Impressive service indeed, and we are merely at the midpoint of our 12 Days of Christmas Service events. Our next event, Wreaths Across America, was a heartwarming opportunity to honor those who truly sacrificed their all for our freedom. Several of our wonderful volunteers placed wreaths on the resting places of our brave heroes who made the ultimate sacrifice. It was a moment of humbling gratitude and a chance to let them know, they are not forgotten. We're so proud to be part of this touching tradition.

Our 12 Days of Christmas Service features a range of events, from fun and exciting to more solemn occasions that encourage quiet reflection and honor. Can you believe we're only halfway through our events? Stay tuned to hear about our other festive celebrations. Rest assured, you won't want to miss what's in store next!

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