Military Families Celebrate Christmas One Month After Fire Destroyed Gifts

BOURNE – When a fire destroyed the Cape Cod Military Support Foundation’s warehouse in late October, plans for their Christmas party for military families were thrown into doubt.

One month later, more than 800 kids were on hand Sunday for the annual event, thanks to the generosity of thousands of Cape Codders.

“The outcrying of support we received from not only the business community and individuals, but just everybody pitching in to make this all happen,” said foundation President Don Cox.

In the hours after the fire at Joint Base Cape Cod, local businesses and individuals came out in force to hold toy collection drives.

Cox said he had already gathered about 70 percent of the gifts and supplies needed for the annual Operation Santa holiday party before the October 28 fire.

At Sunday’s party, hundreds of military kids and their families feasted on pizza and received Christmas presents that lined tables in the base gymnasium.

Holiday music filled the air and a dancing Santa Claus greeted party-goers at the door.

“We put the word out and we gave a place to drop off toys, the rest was up to Cape Cod. This is what this community does, it’s amazing,” said Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod Senior Vice President John Fulone.

The bank opened all its branches as drop off spots for toys in the days after the fire.

Cox said many military families assigned to Cape Cod have a hard time making ends meet on low military salaries and a high cost of living on Cape Cod.

“There’s no cost of living adjustment for them out here, and they’re getting the same pay as everyone else (at military bases) and they’re living in the most expensive part of the state.

After the fire, the Cape Cod Five donated temporary use of the former Ethan Allen building on Route 132 in Hyannis for headquarters space and as a drop off location.

Along with the Christmas party, the foundation’s Children’s Fund provides family events including an Easter Egg Hunt, Operation Backpack, which provides military children with school supplies, and the Operation Pumpkin Halloween party.

The foundation also provides food cards, gas cards, financial support, medical support, bereavement and holiday support through the Chaplain’s Fund.

Other functions of the foundation include the Scholarship and Education Fund, Military Awards Dinner and maintaining the Memorial Park on the base.

By MATT PITTA, CapeCod.com News Director

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