Inside the Gates: Arctic Warrior Wishes

Armed Services YMCA Alaska seeks communities help across Alaska to help service members and their families
Published: Dec. 2, 2020 at 8:46 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Typically during the holiday season Armed Services YMCA Alaska is busy flying military members and their families home to visit relatives. This year, because of COVID-19 and travel limitation and health restrictions, many families are opting to stay where they are.

“With all the restrictions due to COVID, our military members are spending this wonderful time in Alaska with the beautiful snow and outdoor opportunities,” Armed Services YMCA Alaska Executive Director Sarah Riffer said. “So, how can we help bring joy in Alaska as your staying home this year?”

In lieu of flying families home for the holidays the Armed Services YMCA came up with a new program called Arctic Warrior Wishes. It’s a way for community members to grant holiday wishes for service members and their families.

“This is a program that COVID-19 brought around to socially distance and still bring holiday joy,” Riffer said.

Riffer says around 85 families from all military services branches signed up for the program with around 40 families still on the list.

“Find the wish that you connect with most, and grant those wishes,” Riffer said. “There’s all sorts of budget sizes so I think everyone can find a wish that they can connect with and grant.”

For many families, it will be their first holiday season in Alaska. Everyone has different needs this time of year.

“Some are monetary, some are winter activities some are Alaskan experiences its really across the board what our families are wishing for,” Riffer said. “They just select the little button that says grant the wish and they will be connected directly with the military families.”

The Arctic Warrior Wish program runs until Friday, Dec. 11.

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