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Inside the Gates: Armed Services YMCA of Alaska needs your help to brighten the holiday for service members

Published: Dec. 8, 2021 at 1:40 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The holiday season is supposed to be a happy time, but it can be difficult for many families, including those in the military.

“Sometimes around the holidays finances can be tight. People can be kind of sad and down on making sure that their kids get exactly what they may have asked Santa for,” executive director of the Armed Services YMCA of Alaska Sarah Riffer said. “This is a great way just to help people out to make sure that their holiday season is as magical as ours.”

Riffer once again wants to help military families across Alaska through the second annual Arctic Warrior Wishes program.

“This really is a conduit for our service members to make another connection in our community to know why Alaska is the best place to be stationed and people get exactly what their families need or want,” Riffer said.

She hopes to grant just over 100 wishes between now and Dec. 15. According to Riffer, this year’s list contains some rather unique requests.

“I’ve seen some really fun wishes like American Girl dolls, which of course speaks to my heart as a mom with girls,” said Riffer. “There’s some travel wishes on there if you have a lot of airline miles, there’s some wishes for young married couples that are just getting started for things like couches and ovens.”

There are many organizations that ask for help in assisting families during this time of year, but Riffer says what makes the Arctic Warrior Wishes program different is that the donor will be known to the family they helps.

“We want our service members to know exactly who’s donating and helping them out, and we want our community to know our service members and their families and vice versa,” Riffer said.

Service members who are willing to pay the ultimate price for the nation stationed around Alaska hope residents will help to make the holiday special for their families.

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