Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center Clinical Social Worker receives Family Fun Night Bags for military families in her community.

What happens when a company of over 110,000 employees volunteer to support Military Families for their annual volunteer efforts?  The answer is hundreds of Family FUN Night Bags for military families in the New York and New Jersey area and kick-off support for Blue Star Families New York Regional Office.  Talk about incredible timing and impact!  

Every year, Comcast and the NBC Universal Veterans Network partner with local nonprofits to power their giving to strengthen military, Veterans and families in the region.  This year, Blue Star Families, was selected and it couldn’t have happened at a better time.  It’s so exciting when large networks look to support the military community and even more so when military families and their children are recognized for their service too.  April is Month of the Military Child and the collaboration at Comcast and NBCUniversal recognized the unique opportunity to put together a project to support this courageous community of military families and kids.  So, the decision was made!  The leaders of the Community Cares day decided to create a way to bring fun, play, and togetherness for military families by soliciting employee contributions for Family Fun Night Bags.  

During the month of April, the NBC Universal Headquarters in Englewood Cliff, NJ and New York City highlighted Blue Star Families and requested donated items for the bags.  Collection boxes were stationed at each location and on April 20th and 21st employees  donated their time, laughter, and caring to assembling hundreds of bags.  I was so fortunate to attend the Englewood Cliff event. NBCUniversal Headquarters and the experience to see where it all happens, incredible!  The main lobby was full of activity.  Tables were lined with board games, cards, RED Noses (yes…for Red Nose Day!), cuddle time stuffed animals, gift cards, movie cards, puzzles, paint and coloring books, and the list goes on and on.  The positivity and energy were displayed in the employees donning green Comcast Cares shirts, green balloons tossing through the air, and excitement generated by service to others.  Comcast volunteers worked together and reminisced about board game memories and childhood family nights.  

More importantly, this corporate service project provided an opportunity to bring two communities together: Blue Star Neighbors (Comcast Cares and NBC Universal) and Blue Star Families. Creating connected communities is key in supporting military families and this was a perfect example of what can be done!  This was a day of action and also a day of raising awareness.  As a representative of BSF, I had the opportunity to meet with the employee volunteers and share the impact of their giving, the needs of our military families, and the opportunities to work together.  It is just like the commercials say = PRICELESS.

On May 1st, Blue Star Families launched the New York Regional Office and knowing we are starting off with the great Blue Star Neighbors like Comcast and NBCUniversal, is a perfect way to kickstart our community!  As BSF starts connecting with the military and their families in this region, we will now have a Family Fun Night welcome gift to bring along thanks to Comcast Cares Day.  The first delivery of bags was made last Friday to the Northport Veterans Affairs Medical Center.  These bags will be provided to military children who accompany their parents during visits for services at the VA. The clinical social worker receiving the bags is overjoyed with the support for her families.  

If you are a military family in the NY/NJ metropolitan area and would like to receive a Family Fun Night bag, please reach out to BSF!  Corporate opportunities abound to support BSF in the region. We are waiting to hear from you!!!   

Comcast Cares and NBC Universal Veteran Network, Englewood Cliff, NJ

Written by: Tina Atheral