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Friends of the Soldiers Home is a 501c3 tax-exempt nonprofit that is 100% volunteer operated. The Friends’ mission is "to serve those who served" and live at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C. Through service, education and engagement, the Friends strengthens the bond between the Home’s residents and larger community, enhancing the quality of life for veteran and citizen alike.
In November 2011, the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington and surrounding community held a meeting about ending years of neglect in relating to one another.
What blossomed was Friends of the Soldiers Home.
Starting with a Jingo volunteer night in December 2011, Friends went on to partner with the Home to conduct nearly 70 volunteer events by the end of 2013, including 40 in that year alone. About 140 people collectively gave more than 1,000 hours of volunteer time in 2013.
Regular events include monthly Jingos, Happy Hours and Saloon Nights With Friends. Each spring the Home and Friends pairs community volunteers with veteran residents to tend vegetable plots together in the Friends Garden Project.
Friends also holds annual community celebrations with the Home, including Spring Fling the first Saturday in May, July 4 Fireworks, and Oktoberfest the first Sunday in October. In December the Friends and Home residents gather together for the annual holiday tree lighting. Thousands of people from the community have attended these events to better connect the residents and historic campus with the surrounding nation’s capital.