December 10, 2019
“Our first PCS was challenging. No one should feel alone and isolated when we are all on this journey together,” Jessica, volunteer extraordinaire, recently told Blue Star Families. “In the past couple of years, I learned that there are many great organizations out there ready to provide support to military families with the help of volunteers. I have since raised my hand for several opportunities that support our nation’s heroes.”
Because of Jessica’s efforts, our military community is stronger. That’s why we’ve selected her to be a “Champion of Chunky!” Her efforts fuel her family and the Travis Air Force Base community. Every. Single. Day.
Hold up. What’s a Champion of Chunky?
“Champions of Chunky” is a new campaign we just launched with Campbell’s Chunky Soup — our awesome Blue Star Neighbor! Now through the end of February, we’re recognizing military family champions holding down the fort in support of their service member who works long days and nights to keep Americans safe. Together, we’re fueling these rock stars all winter long with Champions of Chunky care packages.
Not to mention, this campaign is part of Campbell Soup Company and Dollar General Corporation’s pledge to give back to military families. These companies recently teamed up to create limited-edition cans of two best-selling flavors of Chunky Soup: Classic Chicken Noodle and Sirloin Burger with Country Vegetables. As part of the initiative, a monetary donation will be made to Blue Star Families. (And you know we’ll put those funds to good use, providing members like YOU free access to our annual programs and events! 🙌)
But, the real winners here are the folks making a significant difference in their communities, like Jessica.
So, to kick-off the campaign, here’s a glimpse into Jessica’s real-life, mil-life, and a short overview as to why we selected her as our very first “Champion of Chunky!”
Get to know Jessica:
My name is Jessica, and I have been married for 11 years to Randel, who has been active-duty Air Force for 18 years. We have 4-year-old twin girls named Victoria and Isabella. My involvement in the military has grown substantially over the past few years. At one point, all I knew about the military is that it took my husband away on frequent and lengthy TDYs. I was clueless. I have raised my hand at many wonderful opportunities to volunteer and help bring support to the families at Travis Air Force Base.
I am a Key Spouse for my husband’s squadron and noticed the need to close the gap between resources and military families — the need to create communities between our civilian and military communities.
I work with Blue Star Families on different events like distributing brand new Disney books to military children free of charge or holding Coffee Chat events at our local Starbucks Military Family Stores where military families can come and get to know each other while the kids do different arts and crafts activities. I spend time at the local USO volunteering at the center, so airmen in the dorms have a place to go and relax.
I am at a point in my life where I can give back. I believe that is the key. Take care of yourself first; then, when you are at a point in your life to give back, take that opportunity! Military families know the struggles we all face. Volunteering has allowed me to pay it forward. I am an introvert, and volunteering pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and do something greater while meeting great people and growing on a personal level.
After 11 years of marriage, I have come to understand the importance of feeling connected with our military community because, at the end of the day, we are one big family. We must take care of each other.
- Family Pantry at Travis Air Force Base: work with nonprofit to restock pantry every month
- Travis Air Force Base Spouses Club: serve as the Director of Programs & on the Charitable Committee
- Operation Homefront: serve as the Team Captain; held annual back to school supply event on base and collect/distribute toys base-wide
- No Bounds Boutique: currently in the process of setting this up to offer a low-cost formal wear renewal; 200+ gowns donated so far
- Operation Shower: work with this organization that provides expecting spouses with a box of baby items
- USO’s Operation Proud Farewell: work year-round to provide breakfast and snacks to members awaiting their flight to their deployment location from Travis Air Force Base PAX terminal
- Airmen and Family Readiness Center New Spouse Orientation: brief Key Spouse portion on education for spouses on resources and services available to them; secure donations for door prizes from organizations
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program: about to start my seventh season! VITA offers free tax help to people who generally make $56,000 or less, people with disabilities, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax return; offer electronic tax filing
- Blue Star Families: everything 😉 thankful for Blue Star Families’ focus on MILFAMILIES!!
Over the next three months, Blue Star Families and Campbell’s Chunky Soup will recognize six “Champions of Chunky,” and you can watch all of their heartwarming stories at https://bluestarfam.org/campbells/.
Lastly, beginning in November, Campbell’s Chunky Soup collectible cans will be available at more than 16,000 Dollar General stores while supplies last.