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Operation Homefront brings Kansas City service member home for the holidays

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For those living far from family members, the Christmas song "Home for the Holidays" is a sad reminder of happier holidays in the past.

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For Corporal Robert Sanders, a serviceman from Kansas City currently stationed in Virginia, the song holds new meaning this year.

Thanks to Operation Homefront and Walmart, Sanders arrived at Kansas City International Airport on Dec. 18, just in time to enjoy his youngest son's first Christmas.

Sanders was one of the service members selected out of hundreds of applicants to come home to participate in Operation Homefront's Home for the Holidays program. The happy reunion of Cpl. Sanders with his wife and sons can be viewed at Walmart's video site.

With the help of a $1.5 million grant from Walmart, Operation Homefront helped 500 active duty military members come home to spend time with families this holiday season, including Sanders and seven other Kansas City area service members.

The grant from Walmart also provides free toys and meals to military families through local events across the country. Operation Homefront, formed in 2002 to support the families of deployed service members, currently provides services to military members across the nation.

Sanders was met at Kansas City International Airport by his wife, Vicki, and two young sons, Donovan and Bennett. The Sanders family are living in Mission, Kan. while Sanders is stationed at Joint Base Langley-Eustis.

Sanders hasn't seen his family in five months and couldn't afford the airfare to make it home, but Operation Homefront made the Sanders family holiday dreams come true.

In addition to spending the holidays with his wife and 8-month-old and 3-year-old sons, Sanders has been spending time with his dad, sister, brother, grandparents, aunts and uncles whom he hasn't seen in over a year.

The holidays can be challenging for the military, especially for families like the Sanders family who are living apart. More than half-a-million spouses and children remain at home while a service member is deployed.

Operation Homefront and Walmart have teamed up to help military families meet these challenges. You can help Operation Homefront meet the needs of service members by raising funds to help in your local community.

Those living near the organization's Kansas City headquarters may also volunteer to help sort donations or help with many ongoing projects which include Back to School Brigade, Backpack Distribution Events, Easter Events and Homefront Celebration.

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