Over 2,000 Canadian Armed Forces members and their families will benefit from this year from Together We Stand Foundation, a charitable organization created by Rick and Lillian Ekstein. This newly formed organization will honour Canadian military families.

Due to the deployment of Canadian troops around the world, some military families are separated during the holiday season. Ekstein, a Canadian businessman, and his wife “recognized this situation and created Together We Stand to honour the sacrifices deployed military personnel and their families make each day,” according to a release.

Canadian philanthropists Rick and Lillian Ekstein meet with Canadian Armed Forces personnel in Toronto to honour military families through launch of Together We Stand Foundation (CNW Group/Together We Stand Foundation)

“Organizations like Together We Stand provide important recognition of the tremendous sacrifice family members make so our personnel can serve Canada,” said General Jonathan H. Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff.

Officially launched on September 13, 2018, the new organization is graciously supported by former prime ministers Stephen Harper and Paul Martin, as well as several notable Canadians and many major brands like Adidas, Cineplex Odeon Corporation, Reebok, Sleep Country Canada and The Shoe Company, to name a few. Deployed military personnel and their families who will be separated during the holiday season “will receive a package of gift cards before the holidays through a collaboration with Support Our Troops.”

Last year, the Eksteins donated $75,000 to military families to thank them for their sacrifices. To make a bigger impact this year, Together We Stand was created as an official charitable organization dedicated to this cause.

“We are extremely grateful to all those that now support our newly formed foundation, Together We Stand,” said Rick Ekstein, Founder, Together We Stand. “We hope the packages Canadian military families will receive, show that Canadians recognize their extraordinary efforts on our behalf.”

The Eksteins are from families that were victims of the Holocaust. “They are passionate in their belief that Canada is the best country in the world and are deeply appreciative of the sacrifices members of the military make to preserve our freedom.”