"Our nation owes each day of security and freedom that we enjoy to the members of our Armed Forces and their families. Behind our brave service men and women, there are family members and loved ones who share in their sacrifice and provide unending support." - President Obama
The annual proclamation declaring November as Military Family Appreciation Month marks the beginning of a month-long celebration of the Military Family in which the Department of Defense and the nation will honor the commitment and sacrifices made by the families of the nation's service members.
What are some ways to show your support this month (and all year long)?
1. Lend a hand. If you know a family with a loved one serving overseas, or a family who's lost a loved one, take some time to help out by watching the kids, running errands, mowing their lawn, or bringing them a meal. If you don't know someone in the services, consider donating to the National Military Family Association, a nonprofit that provides support to military families.
2. Volunteer. Take some time to volunteer and serve your community in honor of those who've served our country. Check out websites like All for Good to find opportunities in your area.
3. Leave an anonymous care package at the door. Put together a movie night in a basket complete with a fun DVD, popcorn and movie candy. Have a recipient in mind, but they live far away? Mail a traditional gift certificate for a local restaurant, or set a dinner date and order a pizza to be delivered from a local place (paying ahead over the phone or online).
4. Listen. Take the time to find out what they need. Maybe they could use some help walking the dog, or perhaps they just want another adult to have a conversation with and share the frustrations of the day. Be that person if you can!
5. Say Thank you! Either in person or through social media; take a moment to thank these families for their sacrifices.
6. Write a thank-you letter to a veteran or current member of the armed forces. A Million Thanks supports active, reserve and veteran military by sending millions of letters of thanks and encouragement directly to the service members.
7. Provide job opportunities and offer workplace flexibility. At Ed4Career, we focus on recruiting veterans and spouses not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because it’s good for our business. Military veterans and spouses possess the skills we need to succeed as a company and are an invaluable part of our workforce.
8. Donate to a veterans’ charity. In addition to organizations such as the Military Warriors Support Foundation, there are organizations dedicated to supporting the children of service members. United Through Reading hopes to ease the stress of separation for military families by having deployed parents read children’s books aloud via DVD for their child to watch at home. You can also support Operation Shower, an organization that offers volunteer-hosted baby showers for expecting moms while their husbands are deployed.
I hope everyone takes a moment to thank a military family this month, next month and all year-round.