Ellsworth Connection: A Home Away From Home

Ellsworth Connection announces the The Holiday Meal Program. This program is a subset of the larger Ellsworth Connection construct and for 2020 serves as a soft start to the much larger program. The first of many programs that will be community-driven initiatives designed to connect local families with Airmen and military families to build relationships and a sense of home away from their hometown. The intent is to link the military and Black Hills community and provide support to Airmen and their families as they transition to their assignment at Ellsworth. This is especially important for Airmen who may be separated for family, sometimes for the first time, during the holiday season.

We thank our community stakeholders, leaders, partners (including but not limited to the ecumenical community, Elevate Rapid City, Military Affairs Committee, SDEDA, local businesses), generous local families, Ellsworth AFB leaders (Commanders, Chiefs, First Sergeants), Airmen and their family members who are making these programs a reality.

 

About The Holiday Meal Program

The Holiday Meal Program will allow airmen to enjoy a Family atmosphere and get to know members of the community better while enjoying a home cooked meal. With a majority of them being so far from home over the Holidays, being at the home of a Family who opened their doors and hearts to them would be the next best thing.

The program will operate from Nov – 1 Jan of each year. Initial information will be distributed to the community and Airmen beginning mid-late October. Deadlines for applications (so plans can be made with adequate lead time) are the first Friday in November for Thanksgiving meals and the first Friday in December forChristmas and New Year’s meals.

How It Works

Applications will be available online and through Chiefs, Shirts and at Airman and Family Readiness Center. For Airmen’s comfort, they have the option to ask to be paired with another Airmen so they are not alone in the host homes. Applications for Airmen to participate must be approved by leadership within their unit. Once approved, applications will be submitted to Airman and Family Readiness who will provide to 28 MSG POC. Applications will be scanned in for easier review by the pairing committee. A sample form is at Attachment 2.

The Matching Process: Once applications are received, a committee comprised of community members and Ellsworth representatives will meet to review and pair Airman and families, considering preferences, concerns with pets, food etc.

Communication with Participants: Once the matches are made, Airmen and Hosts will be notified by committee members. The unit leadership and First Sergeant of selected Airmen will also be informed. Airmen and Hosts will receive an information sheet with relevant information, to include contact information. Notification will include a basic overview of tips and reminders for their time together. The Host is responsible to reach out to the Airmen to arrange the meal.

Feedback: Both the Host and Airmen will be asked to provide feedback on the program at the end of their experience. This will allow us to continue to improve the process. Sample forms at Attachment 3.

We hope this program will create initial matches for the larger Ellsworth Connection: A Home Away from Home Program.

 

Interested in participating in this program? Complete the appropriate application below to get started. 

Host Family Application
Airmen Application

 

*Note: Program guidelines and participation may be subject to change in response to the base COVID-19 guidelines at the time.