As of December 1, 2020, USO West delivered USO services, programming and outreach at 33 center locations and dozens of military installations across the Western states, providing 895,685 service instances to members of the military and their families this year. USO West operated from 11 USO Airport Centers, 16 Military Installation Centers, 6 Military Entrance Processing Stations, 2 Pathfinder Sites and throughout the region with our 5 USO Mobile Units.
In integrating more virtual programming this year, we also had the privilege of celebrating our troops and their families with our first Live from the USO virtual event, hosted by Drew Carey & joined by various celebrities and entertainers, with the support of our generous community partners including Delta Air Lines, Northrop Grumman, Harrah’s SoCal Resorts and much more. And we aren’t done yet!
As we close out 2020, the USO remains active as we serve tens of thousands of military families during the holidays. With your support today, the USO will continue to send the gift of home to our troops during the holidays, providing care, comfort and connection through virtual programming, care packages and opportunities for local communities to support service members and their families around the word.
Here is a closer look at how your support directly impacted our military service members and their families across the region this year:
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, USO Alaska has been answering the call for increased support for military service members and their families. USO Alaska’s response continues to be quick and agile. All teams and resources have been diverted to support emerging needs, from distributing care packages and hygiene kits to service members to launching online programs for spouses and kids to keep them engaged and connected. USO Alaska has the goal of reaching 40,000 individuals through food distribution programs during the remainder of 2020 and into the summer of 2021. With more than 27,000 Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guardsmen, and their accompanying family members, USO Alaska provided 121,620 service interactions to military personnel and their families this year. Of those, 108,621 were delivered through mobile/expeditionary interactions in Alaska’s difficult-to-reach locations.
In 2020, USO Arizona faced the challenge head-on of temporarily suspending operations at its centers due to restrictions related to the global pandemic. They immediately pivoted to delivering new types of requests from military commands because of quarantines and National Guard and Reserve mobilizations, all without their volunteer force. USO Arizona successfully provided 146,184 instances of service and aims to reach more service members in 2021 by opening up a new center Yuma Proving Ground to provide direct support for those training at the remote location.
Bob Hope USO
In 2020, Bob Hope USO provided 146,184 service instances even with the onset of COVID-19. In March 2020, we expanded support to include those serving on the USNS Mercy stationed at the Port of Los Angeles, as they were deployed to provide relief to the field hospitals in LA County. Bob Hope USO provided necessities and comfort items in high demand and worked to fulfill requested personal work-out equipment and yoga mats, as well as WI-FI connectivity to keep sailors connected to their families. In addition, Bob Hope USO quickly responded to the needs of our National Guard and quarantined troops throughout our geographic service area with care packages including basic essential needs and morale-boosting activity kits . As restrictions changed and families faced stay at home order, Bob Hope USO adapted traditional programs for virtual delivery, including story-time for families, fun classes for kids, health and wellness for spouses and service members, and live engagements with celebrities and athletes. In 2021, we aim to open a new center at Fort Irwin & increase programming at Twentynine Palms to help strengthen our military and their families stationed at the remote bases.
USO Nevada provided 50,780 service instances, including 30,937 outreach program participants stationed at remote locations in 2020. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, USO Nevada continued to deliver a touch of home to families who were unable to leave their quarters at Nellis Air Force Base with meal deliveries from local businesses, essential toiletries and goods, and virtual programming to promote health and wellness. With rising numbers of COVID-19, the annual USO Las Vegas Warrior Week quickly transitioned into a virtual gaming program in 2020, however we look forward to continuing our in-person programming in 2021.
In 2020, USO NorCal opened its doors to the new state-of-the-art USO SFO center and provided 63,459 service interactions to military personnel and families throughout the region. This year, Northern California not only experienced the safety concerns and challenges that came with COVID-19, but was also impacted by the wildfires and poor air quality throughout the region. USO Northern California supported the National Guard and other service members who were deployed to help fight the over 600 fires burning throughout the region, while their families faced additional health risks and uncertainty. USO Northern California programming and services such as Food Distribution, Virtual Programming, Families with Special Needs, Back to School Kits, Holidays Meals 4 Military and more, continued to help build resiliency, foster connections, and provide a sense of normalcy and connection during this year of uncertainty.
USO San Diego
This year, USO San Diego jumped into action with COVID-19 relief support and in providing critical assistance to the sailors aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard when the devastating fire took place in July. Within hours of the fire starting, the USO San Diego team delivered six pallets of bottled water, or 4,368 bottles, to the pier for those engaged in firefighting and set out to support the crew of 1,000 with toiletries, snacks and microwaveable foods. Throughout the year, USO San Diego continued to provide emergency relief response by providing Farmers Markets and ‘Groceries on the Go’ to military families across San Diego. USO San Diego provided 259,088 service instances throughout their geographic service area and will continue to expand their efforts to reach the growing number of military families in the San Diego County in 2021.
While we have served the U.S. military for over 79 years, this current time period is like no other. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the USO quickly pivoted resources across the world in an approach that helped care for military members and their families, while also aiding in reducing the spread of the virus. As the nation’s leading organization to serve the men and women in the military, the USO remained in close alignment with military commands to support the emergent needs of service members and their families. For our troops and military families, the pandemic created additional hardships for individuals who were already sacrificing so much while they continue to serve the county and carry out missions world wide.
We need them. They need us. We need you.
A LOOK AHEAD TO 2021
The USO will always remain committed to expanding access to the USO for service members and their families by increasing service connections, delivering mobile programming to states and areas without physical USO centers, and boosting transition services for our military and their spouses through our virtual access.
February 4th, 2021: 80th Anniversary Celebration
March 2021: USO Center Grand Openings at Twentynine Palms & Fort Irwin
April 2021: Month of the Military Child
April 18th-24th, 2021: National Volunteer Week
May 2021: Military Appreciation Month
June 2021: USO Center Expansion at Nellis Air Force Base
August 2021: USO Center Grand Openings at MCAS Yuma
November 2021: Month of the Military Family
This article was released by the USO.