Since Clara Barton established the American Red Cross in 1881, serving members of the military community has been at the heart of the Red Cross mission. While Louisville is home to one of four Service to the Armed Forces Emergency Call Centers in the world, volunteers throughout Kentucky help support active military, veterans and their families. Trained volunteer caseworkers follow up on emergency messages to our military to ensure soldiers and their families receive the support and services needed during their emergency. Volunteers also assist at Welcome Home and Departure Ceremonies. During these ceremonies the Red Cross provides snacks and beverages for soldiers and families.
In addition to these ongoing duties, the Fort Knox office has developed programs catered to the needs of the military community on Fort Knox.
The Fort Knox Helping Hands program is available to provide food, clothing and household good assistance to military families with a financial need. Anyone with a military ID is eligible to receive help. This includes all branches of service (active , reserve and national guard) assigned to a Fort Knox unit and retired military that live in the Fort Knox area (Hardin and Meade counties). A valid military ID card must be presented at the time of service.
Helping Hands is run by dedicated volunteers who sort donations and set up food in the pantry during business hours. During the Thanksgiving Holiday Food Program (November 1-30th), volunteers help prepare food bags for families in need.
The mission of Santa’s Workshop is to provide toys for military families who are financially challenged during the holiday season. With a little assistance from workshop elves, soldiers and spouses shop our inventory to find the best toys for their children. Each child receives two brand new toys, a book and stocking stuffers. Each family receives a board game which they can enjoy together.
Santa’s Workshop serves Fort Knox military families with children ages 2 years to 13 years of age who are currently living with the soldier and under the soldier’s DEER enrollment. Parents begin shopping at Santa’s Workshop around the first two weeks of December. Volunteers assist parents in selecting toys for their children. Volunteers are needed year-round to help shop for toys, re-stock and organize the workshop.
Both Helping Hands and Santa’s Workshop are located at Building 119 on Binter Street (behind Fort Knox Commissary and diagonal from the Class Six).
Fort Knox assistance programs are available thanks to donations from generous groups and individuals.
Items that can be donated to Helping Hands include:
Items that can be donated to Santa’s Workshop include:
If you or someone you know would like to make a donation to Helping Hands or Santa’s Workshop, please contact the American Red Cross Fort Knox office at (502) 624-2163. We accept cash, checks, credit cards, gift cards and the items listed above. Donation receipts are available upon request. You can mail or bring your donation to the Red Cross Fort Knox office, 1131 Fifth Avenue, P.O. Box 996, Fort Knox, KY 40121.
In 2011, the Fort Knox Red Cross began offering Pet Therapy Training for dogs and their owners to participate in various programs serving soldiers and their families. Pet Therapy Training typically runs for six weeks with participants meeting once a week. Once dogs and their owners are certified, they can participate in the following programs.
Canine Assisted Therapy – Teams (the handler and dog) are assigned to assist a soldier in therapy. The setting of specific goals is set by the soldier and therapist. Dogs and their handlers are required to complete additional training prior to participating in Canine Assisted Therapy.
Puppy Tales – Children have the opportunity to read to their furry friends. Puppy Tales is held at Barr Library on Fort Knox Army Base on the first Saturday of each month and at Elizabethtown Library on the second Saturday of each month. Teams must attend an additional workshop and complete an evaluation with the program coordinator to be eligible for program.
Wounded Warrior – Every Thursday teams (the handler and dog) visit the Wounded Warrior Unit where soldiers pet and visit with participating dogs.
Canine Assisted Therapy – The occupational therapists from Ireland Army Community Hospital's Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic, and various volunteers, have developed the Canine Assisted Therapy program to foster the healing and recovery process of soldiers diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injury, post concussive syndrome and/or post traumatic stress disorder. The initial phase of the program was launched in October 2011 to graduate soldiers with competence in dog handling skills/obedience and to certify the dogs as Canine Good Citizens.
Research studies have proven that animal assisted therapy programs are effective in promoting health and wellness by helping individuals heal physically, cognitively, spiritually and psychologically. Literature documents just some of the benefits of animal assisted therapy as:
Trained Pet Therapy Teams (the handler and dog) are assigned to assist a soldier in therapy. Specific goals are set by the soldier and occupational therapist. Dogs and their handlers are required to complete additional training prior to participating in Canine Assisted Therapy.
Welcome Home and Deployment Ceremonies – Teams (the handler and dog) participate in a ceremony to either welcome home our troops or say farewell as troops deploy. There are no set times for either of these ceremonies. Due to security reasons, requests for teams to participate in these ceremonies can be last minute and late at night or early in the morning.
Nursing Homes, Adult Day Cares, & other facilities - teams (handler & dog) visit these facilities on specific days which you will have access to a calendar so that you can volunteer. Date and length of visits vary depending on the facility.
Medical Support Clerk: 6 months on the job training as a medical support clerk at Ireland Army Community Hospital.
Dental Assistant Program: 4 months training as a dental assistant at the Army Dental Clinic.
Junior Red Cross - Throughout the school year, clubs meet every week to learn how to prepare for various disasters. They also learn about community service by planning various activities such as food and clothing drives. Junior Red Cross is currently established in the elementary and intermediate schools on Fort Knox.
Summer Youth Volunteer Program - Youth volunteer at various businesses on post during the summer months. This program runs in conjunction with the local summer school break—the end of May to the first week in August.