A Tireless Advocate for Military Families in North Carolina and Beyond

Daily Point of Light # 7848 Jul 4, 2024

Meet Daily Point of Light Award honoree Stephanie Roberson. Read her story, and nominate an outstanding volunteer or family as a Daily Point of Light. 

Over the past three years, Stephanie Roberson has volunteered for more than 3,000 hours to Operation Homefront (OH), an organization with a mission to build strong, stable and secure military families. As a team captain and volunteer administrator, Stephanie ensures that these military families receive the support and resources they need. Her roles involve maintaining high-value, consistent and timely communications with both military families and other volunteers.  

In 2023 alone, Stephanie managed the administrative duties for eight official programs and six partnership programs. Her responsibilities included logistics, identifying items to order, shipping supplies and scheduling volunteers. Stephanie’s meticulous planning and coordination also helped ensure the flawless execution of 14 events, benefiting countless military families. 

When OH experienced staff shortages in Nashville, Stephanie stepped up without hesitation. Her efforts culminated in the successful delivery of more than 2,800 toys to military families, as well as the management of three table setups at various events. Impressively, Stephanie’s service extends across seven states: North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.  

On average, Stephanie dedicates 15 to 20 hours a week to volunteer work, totaling over 3,000 hours in the past three years. Her tireless commitment and exceptional leadership have made a significant impact on Operation Homefront and the military families they serve. Read on to find out more about Stephanie’s passion for veterans and what inspires her to volunteer. 

Stephanie helped pack and deliver 150 school supplied packed backpacks to Navy Reserve Center in Charlotte, NC.

Tell us about your volunteer roles. 

I wear many different hats with Operation Homefront. I’m a volunteer administrator, team captain and Dollar Tree volunteer. As a team captain, I host events for military families, including a Back-to-School Brigade in August and Holiday Meals for Military in November. Event planning is a big part of that role!

Volunteer administrator is a lot of administrative work, including creating events in the system, helping register a lot of volunteers for our partnership with Dollar Tree and more. I have over 1,000 volunteers I work with. And I myself am also a Dollar Tree volunteer. I collect the items that patrons donate and distribute those to military installations. 

Why is this issue so important to you? 

Back in 1991, I was a freshman in high school and Iraq invaded Kuwait, and our English teacher had us writing letters to our servicemembers. I had Master Sergeant Stephen McGee. I’ll never forget him – I have every letter we ever exchanged. He was in the Marine Corps, and he wrote me so many times. One letter that comes to mind was one where he was in a foxhole writing me, and he said he knew that he was going to lose men, but also knew that the U.S. was going to come out on top. 

That stuck with me for my whole life. Military members know when they sign up that their life is on the line. I went from donating packs of Kool Aid to giving 1,000 a year in volunteer work to military members and their families. 

What inspired you to get started with these initiatives? 

There were brief moments where I had the desire to volunteer but didn’t know how or where. As time went on and we went into the Afghan War and Iraqi War, there were so many organizations created. I started donating monetarily to some organizations to help military. Then in 2015, I started volunteering with the USO at the airport in Charlotte. I did that for about six years. I met a friend there who also volunteered with Operation Homefront, and I jumped right in with that organization. 

What’s been the most rewarding part of your work? 

The hugs. The tears. The thank you’s. Just knowing that you’ve truly impacted an individual’s life is so rewarding. At the Holiday Meals for Military events, the service members and their families come to those events and they’re so grateful. We give them a gift card for food, and we provide non-perishables. We’ve had attendees who have shared that they would not have a Thanksgiving or Christmas without those events. One comment last year stuck with me. She said, “Thank you for the nourishment for my family.” 

What have you learned through your experiences as a volunteer? 

I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is that it could be the smallest monetary donation, the most minimal volunteer time, and it all makes a difference. It could be $1.25 for a composition book from Dollar Tree. That’s one less thing a family has to worry about for school. When you purchase $1.25 toy, for some of these kids, that’s the only toy they get. 

Why is it important for others to get involved with causes they care about? 

It makes a difference. You change someone’s life. 

Any advice for people who want to start volunteering? 

Any amount of time matters, any amount of time. You learn so much as a volunteer. You learn how to speak to people, how people want to be treated. You learn so much! It’s not just about what you can do for others – it’s about what you get out of it as well. 

What do you want people to learn from your story? 

The biggest thing is that you make a difference. You make a difference, no matter how little or much you do. For me, it’s the service members. They’re away from their families. They’re traveling or moving every two years. They don’t have a stable life. Divorce is at its highest among military. It is a tough life to lead, and they need our support. 

Do you want to make a difference in your community like Stephanie? Find local volunteer opportunities. 

Points of Light

We are champions of civic engagement with a mission to inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world.