Supporting Military Families During the Holidays (And Beyond)

 

So, continuing with this month’s theme which Im renaming “tis the season” :  A facebook post by my friend Janet reminded me today that   “tis the season”  when people get together with family, but for some people, family is thousands of miles away serving in the military. Here’s her post:

”  As we head into the holiday season, don’t forget to show your support for the families of  deployed soldiers. If you have a friend, relative, neighbor, co-worker, etc. whose spouse is overseas, lend them a hand this season. If you  need ideas, let me know, I’m happy to help. Its as important as supporting the soldier. If the families… are well cared for, the soldier’s mind is at ease. “

Well, I did need ideas! I did!  So I asked Janet, who knows first hand what it’s like to have a loved one deployed several times over, for some suggestions on how we can help a military family during this time of year. She offers the following:

“….some things I found helpful were simple things like offering to go grocery shopping or pick things up at the store (CVS, etc). For those with children, to watch the kids while the parent does their holiday shopping. Helping with snow removal when the weather turns and offering, if you have a business, ‘free’ or reduced cost services like plumbing, heating, electric (things that tend to go wrong in the winter at the most convenient of times….my burner went out 4 times, always on a Sunday and always after dark!). “

 She continues: “Offering, if you have the skill, to do small projects around the house. Calling the family and making plans to chat or get together (its was sort of like a funeral for me. When Thad left, there was all this activity around his leaving and making sure I was ok then everyone went back to their daily lives and the loneliest times were often months after, people stopped checking in, calling, etc.).”

Janet  also passed along two suggestions from Grace, a friend of hers who is the wife of a soldier  who is currently deployed:

” ‘Consider a donation to the USO. Each holiday season, they provide phone cards so that a soldier away from home can call his or her family. Did you know it is not free for a soldier to call home? Soldiers pay for phone and internet if they are not located in a place where there is a USO. On bases with a USO, each soldier can make a free call each day. ‘ ”

Click here for the USO.

“‘Another suggestion is to consider a donation to Fisher House. A local Fisher House just opened at the VA in West Roxbury. Fisher House is a place where family members can stay while their soldier is hospitalized. It is a comfortable place and families stay free of charge.” ‘ 

Here’s the link :  Fisher House

 

So, plenty we can do to help “support the troops” and their families in concrete ways as well as in spirit. As always, do with this information as you like.  And thanks Janet and Grace not only for  sharing this info but also for the time you’ve put in with a loved one deployed in harm’s way.

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