OSOAmil is a 501(c)3, non-profit tax-exempt organization, whose mission is to honor our Military, Veterans, Reserves, Wounded Warriors, First Responders, Gold Star Families, and Blue Star Mothers, and their families by supporting them with programs designed to provide assistance within everyday life and letting them know the many sacrifices of both the families and those serving are appreciated.
OSOAmil does this by hosting and co-hosting large scale baby showers, baby care packages, diaper programs, events honoring our Military, Veterans, Blue and Gold Star moms and families, offering resources, and holiday programs in honor of our local families that have served in our military or emergency services and their families. We are a 100% volunteer and donation based organization. All proceeds are evenly dispersed amongst all programs, unless specified.
OSOAmil assists enlisted military families from all branches E1-E8, and O1, Wounded Warriors, Reserves, Veterans and First Responders with our various programs. In addition to family specific events, we also offer assistance on the Command level to all other military families.
Showers are held throughout the year in various locations across the United States, with Southern California being the main location of our events.
OSOAmil was established in 2006 by Kimberly Felshaw after being assisted by a local church in 2005. January 2005, the Felshaw’s were invited to attend a baby shower held by the South Shores Church located in Monarch Beach California, while her spouse served on active duty with the United States Marines. At this shower, they were assisted with everything they would need for the arrival and care for their first child Allysa. Shortly after the shower, their daughter Allysa arrived. She was six weeks early and diagnosed with a terminal disease called Trisomy 13 and lived for three short weeks. Members of the South Shores Church assisted the Felshaw’s by opening their hearts and hands to them in their time of need.
Their kindness and generosity inspired Kimberly to begin Operation Showers of Appreciation. OSOAmil assisted their 100th family in July 2008 and assisted their 200th family at their Annual Twenty-Nine Palms shower in 2009.
In July 2010, OSOAmil expanded their services to Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center Bridgeport assisting 10 new and expecting military moms. This was the first annual event aboard this base and was a huge success due to donations by Lincoln Military Housing and the local Lions Club.
In 2011, OSOAmil branched into Nevada assisting more than 120 new and expecting military families. With the support of the local community, this was our largest event to date. Our goal is to continue our Nevada showers making them an annual event to support even more military families aboard Nellis Air Force Base and the Nevada area.
In 2012, OSOAmil has been able to make huge jumps across the country with our first East Coast shower held in North Carolina assisting families stationed on or near Fort Bragg. This shower was a great success allowing us to add additional showers in Colorado, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada to our 2012 calendar. We are happy to say that we have helped over 3500 military families to date and counting.
2013 was an unbelievable year for us with helping numerous families thru our military baby showers, emergency assistance and our unit assistance programs. We had more twins this year at our military baby showers than ever. We partnered with Baby Magic this year which was so exciting and all our expectant moms loved the product from them.
2014 we continued partnering with San Diego Spine and Rehab bringing more showers to the Southern California area in addition to our already scheduled annual events, held our first Virginia shower, and began offering our services to our nation’s First Responders and their families.
2015 we continued with our group military baby showers and programs and held our first annual Veteran Caregiver Appreciation Luncheon. We also assisted more Veterans and Wounded Warrior Families in 2015 than ever before.
2016 marked the 10-year anniversary of OSOAmil with our annual Baby Shower honoring Allyssa supporting 30 military, veteran, and first responder families. To date, we have assisted more than 8,000 families since starting in 2006, with the need for our assistance growing every year. We are grateful for our continued support from Pala Casino for our venue and that of our donors in support of our mission to honor our military families allowing our programs to grow.
In 2017 OSOAmil had an amazing year filled with a few surprises and firsts. We assisted our first military family located in Lake Havasu City, AZ, where our Founder Kimberly and her family currently resides, bringing our services to the recruiting station in one of our more remote locations. In April 2017 we were selected to appear in Redbook magazine with an article honoring our Founder Kimberly for starting Operation Showers of Appreciation and supporting our nation’s military, veteran, and first responder families. With that article, we were also featured on Good Morning America and were given a grant from the Chick-fil-A Foundation of $25,000 to assist our families. Closing the 2017 year, OSOAmil was able to be part of the Christmas Turkey Meals program giving 25 meals to military families for Christmas.
2018 –2019 was filled with new partnerships with companies such as the Peanut Shell, Pumping Essentials, Beaba, and Lille to name a few. Our group Baby Showers, Baby Care Packages continue to grow as our requests have nearly doubled over the past couple of years. We have also added our Unspoken Heroes program specifically supporting Veteran Caregivers. This program hosts appreciation banquets, offers back to school assistance, and pamper packages to support our Veteran Caregivers. All our programs continue to receive support from our partners like Chicco and Beach Cities Quilters and we are very thankful for their support.
2020 was the beginning of some changes with OSOAmil. In January of that year, we lost someone close to OSOA, a member of the Pala Casino team and a member of our team. Missy was an amazing woman with a beautiful heart who loved serving our families during our group showers and she will always be on our minds and a part of our team. Our annual February Baby Shower that year marked the last group Baby Shower held at the Pala Casino as well as our last group Baby Shower held thus far. As Covid-19 restrictions began to take place, OSOAmil was tasked with making some necessary changes to keep our programs running as our requests for assistance that year did not slow down but increased more than double monthly from previous years. We were able to restructure our group Baby Showers into Social Distance Drive Thru Baby Showers allowing us to continue supporting the families that needed us. April 2020 was our first Social Distance Drive Thru Baby Shower, and it was an immense success allowing us to host 6 in total during 2020 and our first Virtual Race fundraiser for OSOAmil raising $500 supporting our programs. During 2020 our requests for our Baby Care Packages were at an all-time high with many families now only having one income. We continue to request and accept donations for this program of items to place in the boxes and most importantly postage to ship them where they are needed.
2021 was the start of OSOAmil’s 15th year supporting military, veteran, and first responder families. We continue to host our Social Distance Drive Thru Baby Showers and have assisted more than 15,000 families with our various programs as our assistance requests continue to grow monthly.
We look forward to a productive 2022 and will continue to overcome and adapt to any changes we may need to make. In 2022, we are hoping to add a few more team members to aid with our demand and spread OSOAmil’s mission.