2019 Year in Review: Blue Star Families Volunteers Making an Impact

Published: December 27, 2019

holiday party

Blue Star Families staff and volunteers at Stars, Stripes, and Snowflakes holiday party in Washington, D.C.

2019 is nearly over, friends.

While we’re looking forward to all that 2020 (and an entirely new decade) will bring, today, we’re looking back on the incredible year Blue Star Families volunteers had. 


Because our volunteers deserve all the love. They’re the reason why we’re able to further our mission to empower our nation’s military families to thriveno matter where they may be on their journey. 

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out these 2019 numbers:

Nearly 500 Blue Star Families volunteers helped us…

Bring 300 Yellow Ribbon Trees to participating Starbucks stores nationwide…

And host more than 1,300 events…

In 200+ Communities worldwide.

As a result, the cumulative value our volunteers bring through the hours they donate to Blue Star Families is more than $1 million.

Wow. That’s some serious work.

But that’s only one piece of the puzzle! So we asked some members of Blue Star Families’ staff to share some insight on their experience working with our incredible volunteers. Here’s what they had to say: 

“Each year, a small but mighty group of volunteers come together to support our major national events in the Washington, D.C. area, including the Blue Star Neighbors Celebration and the Stars, Stripes, and Snowflakes Holiday Party. Many of these dedicated volunteers […] have been with us year after year, and they have become key players in ensuring the success of both events. These special volunteers work tirelessly to prepare for the events, helping to wrap gifts, stuff goodie bags, and arrange activities and vendors. Once the doors open, they are all smiles, greeting guests, stepping in wherever they can to assist, and sharing the Blue Star Families mission as well as their own story as to why this organization matters so much to them. As both events have become Blue Star Families tradition over the years, this group of volunteers has become key to the success of our national events in the Washington, D.C., area! We couldn’t do the work we do in the area without them!” 

– Meghan Wieten-Scott, Senior Manager for Outreach & National Events

holiday party

Blue Star Families volunteers at Stars, Stripes, and Snowflakes holiday party in Washington, D.C.

“I would like to say that all of my volunteers are incredibly talented in multiple ways, and it seems when I really need to rely on them the most, they trip over each other offering to help. These are busy people. They have full-time jobs, and children, and other volunteer positions in the Jacksonville community. I can’t just highlight one particular volunteer. [Two] stepped in and took over the START family reading program for me when we realized it would conflict with my Monday night masters cohort. They did it all. […] another amazing volunteer steps in and does all sorts of heavy lifting for us. He always seems to appear out of nowhere, just when you need him the most. I meet amazing military spouses and humans in this community every single day who want to help – even when sometimes they might need a little help themselves! I love my community, and getting to work alongside these amazing people makes it all worth it. Without these volunteers, there would be no Blue Star Families Jacksonville Chapter!

– Wendy Layton, Jacksonville Chapter Director

“I have been blessed to be around a group of caring, passionate, and involved volunteers here in Missouri. There is absolutely no way that I could accomplish anything without them. They often jump in and help out, sometimes, even before I ask. I remember planning the Comedy Night for Caregivers, and I called a volunteer to make sure she knew that she was invited to attend as a caregiver. [She] learned that I was setting up by myself and immediately jumped in to help me…Another time, I called a volunteer to update her on a new contact I had made regarding our Blue Star Museums program, and she offered to ride with me all the way to Saint Louis to meet this new contact. Not only did she meet this new contact, but she personally led the event at the museum and did the shopping for it. Amazing, right? [These] volunteers see the benefits of what Blue Star Families programs do to connect our members. They often hear first-hand from members how impactful an event or program is. We would not be able to build strong communities without our volunteers, and I am so grateful for them.

– Tai Kimes, Missouri Chapter Director

“I was introduced to Shantel McCoy (retired Army) through a local photographer who knew that she was looking to get involved in meaningful work in our community. I was in need of a Lead Volunteer…Shantel was very excited about giving back to the military community, supporting the mission of BSF…As a new Chapter Director, I needed to quickly introduce BSF to our community, and she accompanied me at almost every event our Chapter completed in 2019. Another volunteer […] worked within her role to share ideas for ways that BSF could get involved within the community. She even made the connection for a unique partnership to occur between BSF and The Army Community Services Exceptional Family Member program, which afforded us the opportunity to host a Co-Branded Denim and Diamonds Special Needs Ball to kick-off Disabilities Awareness Month. Additionally, there are volunteers who step up, whether it’s a one-time visit to thank a museum, set up a Starbucks Coffee Connect, or put up a Yellow Ribbon Tree…my volunteers have shown up in a huge way, and I am so appreciative and grateful because they have graciously and unselfishly given of their time in support of me and the BSF mission…”

– Karissa Poe, Tennessee Chapter Director

Let’s hear it for our volunteers!

From supporting holiday projects to helping Chapter Directors carry out their mission in their communities, giving thanks to Blue Star Neighbors on behalf of Blue Star Families, hosting meet-ups to bridge the military-civilian divide, spreading the word about our programs and resources, and so much more, it’s clear that our dedicated volunteers play a significant role in helping us make a positive impact on our military families. 

Feeling inspired to join our team of volunteers in 2020?

Click here to complete the registration form. You’ll then begin to receive monthly communications about all of the exciting opportunities near you. Or, if you live in one of our Chapter locations, a Chapter Director will reach out to you directly to discuss your interests. Military or civilian, we can’t wait to welcome you to our team!