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Armed Services YMCA starts program to grant holiday wishes for Alaska military families

Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 4:11 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - This holiday season, the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) is putting on a program called Arctic Warrior Wishes, where members of a community are encouraged to help grant the wishes of younger service members.

Sarah Riffer, Executive Director of the ASYMCA in Alaska, explained, “This year, for 2020, like many organizations, the Armed Services YMCA has had to shift and reinvent.”

E1 to E6 junior enlisted military members all across the state, and from any military branch, were asked to submit holiday wishes on a website platform.

“Some people are wishing for Alaskan experiences. They want to go dogsledding or snowmachining. Some people are wishing for Alaskan postcards from all over the state. Some people are asking for warm winter pajamas and clothing and toys for their children. So they’re really all over the board, and it’s easy to go through and figure out which wish really speaks to your heart,” Riffer explained.

Now that the deadline to submit wishes has passed, any interested community member can contribute by either donating money to help the program, or being matched with an individual service member to grant that person’s wish.

“It’s kind of a way to play Santa and his elves, and directly impact our family members. It also, hopefully, provides a way to socially distance, but still connect with our military members who we all love and support,” Riffer said.

More information about how to be involved can be found at the ASYMCA’s website.

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