As many of you know, I have multiple family members who have served in the military or are deployed. This time of year can be especially difficult for families separated from their loved ones. Wouldn't it be nice to perhaps think of them, considering the sacrifices they've made for our country?

The Pentagon Federal Credit Union Foundation offers several ways to help soldiers and veterans get the resources they need for secure financial futures. Here are five:

1. A down payment on their first home. Give the gift of supporting the foundation's Dream Makers Program, which offers grants to veterans and their families to cover the down payment and closing costs on their first home.

2. Free child care. Support the foundation's Military Heroes Fund, which provides wounded soldiers with free child-care assistance while they undergo medical care. Families of the wounded face many financial stresses and often cannot afford even reduced day-care costs.

3. Financial education and counseling. Support the foundation and help prevent medical emergencies from turning into financial hardships for our nation's defenders.

4. Lodging while undergoing medical care. Give to the the Defenders Lodge, a new lodging facility in Palo Alto, Calif., that will support thousands of veterans who travel there to undergo medical treatment at the VA hospital for injuries sustained while serving our country.

5. Emergency loans to get back on their feet. Support the foundation's ARK program, which provides eligible military members with no- interest loans. They help rebuild or repair credit, improve cash flow and increase money-management skills.

For details on these programs and more, visit www.pentagonfoundation.org.

A Savvy deal

Looking for a last-minute gift? Pleasant Details in Mount Pleasant is offering Charleston Savvy Shopper readers a $20 gift card with the purchase of a $150 gift certificate and 10 percent off any service. Offer expires Jan. 15. Mention this column to get the deal. Call 568-0247 or visit www.pleasantdetails.com.

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Reach Shannon Brigham at charlestonsavvyshopper@postandcourier.com.