The year was 1991; a little girl stood with overwhelming excitement while trying very hard not to crush the yellow rose she held. The C-130s circled above and then made their way down the runway, rumbling obnoxiously. One of the planes suddenly had a flag appear as the planes paraded to their parking spot.
As thousands of soldiers in uniform walked down the steps from the dozens of planes, the little girl searched face after face, looking for that one face that she had longed to see for months. A voice from a cassette tape had been tucking her into sleep at night for months. Finally, she was moments away from seeing that face and being in the arms that belonged to that voice.
Hi, I am Whitney, CardCrafts Shop manager. Above is a picture of me. A little girl from a military family, finally getting to hug my daddy after months of deployment, and yes, this was before FaceTime. Yep, I am old. :)
I am writing this month because the topic of this post is near and dear to my heart. May is Military Appreciation Month. I am a military brat. Military families go through a lot and often go through it alone.
Military families will be familiar with resources like Military One Source and the Department of Veterans Affairs. These are a part of our everyday lives as military families. Often, these resources are not nearly enough to fill the void of having someone missing from your family day to day, week to week.
How Can You Support Military Families?
How can we support those that are serving today? I am glad you asked. I have enjoyed researching new tools, non-profits, and other resources to help these beloved families that have started since my days of being part of a military family. Keep reading to find out how to help.
I want to take a few moments to highlight a few non-profits that are working to serve military families. It can be difficult and overwhelming to manage paperwork and routine documentation when your other half is somewhere else.
For this reason, many military families struggle to keep up with these ever-changing everyday processes. When trauma and other tragedies that come with this type of sacrifice hit, families, end up in some heartbreaking situations that they didn't ask for and, unfortunately, often find that they need help and don't know where to look.
Operations First Response, Serving Wounded Heroes & Their Family
Operation First Response is a non-profit that was created in 2004 and since then has raised over 13.5 million dollars and served over 25,419 wounded heroes and their families. How is Operation First Response available to help? Operation First Response has a financial support program that helps provide for basics like groceries, mortgage, clothing, rent, and vehicles.
Additionally, a lot of our heroes face the choice of help in recovering and learning to live with the symptoms of PTSD or being able to support their families financially. O.F.R provides financial assistance so that military families can get both help in learning to live with these difficulties and provide for their families.
O.F.R sends backpacks to soldiers wounded on arrival. These include a change of clothes, hygiene products, a handmade blanket, and a phone card. These backpacks empower heroes by providing personal items that otherwise might take weeks to replace after being wounded.
There is much, much more than O.F.R does for our heroes and their families. To read more, visit their about page, and please consider donating.
Team River Runner, River To Recovery
Team River Runner is an adaptive sports organization whose mission is to help veterans maintain and enjoy an adventure and community-filled lifestyle. Unfortunately, because of the symptoms of PTSD and financial struggles, it can be nearly impossible for military families to enjoy extra activities.
Team River Runner's OJT program allows veterans to work with and for the team as they readjust to corporate life and put their leadership skills back to work in said environment.
My early years were in Colorado, while my dad was stationed in the Springs. Everyone lives an active lifestyle there; there is always something fun to do, no matter the season. I loved our hikes and family picnics in the mountains.
So, when our family struggled with a disability, the first thing to go was the "fun stuff." Team River Runner provides the resources and encouragement for heroes and their families to regain the active, fun lifestyles they lost or had to give up due to financial hardship.
Hungry Heroes - Feeding First Responders
Hungry Heroes is an organization born out of tragedy and grief. An organization exists to feed and say "Thank you" to military heroes and first responders all over the United States. When our hearts grieve, sometimes the best relief is seeing the faces around you in our community are with you in your grief.
There are just a few fantastic places that I have personally seen to support and say "Thank you!" to those who have sacrificed so much to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.
Last but not least. At CardCraft, we understand the value of a thank you. Sometimes you cannot say it in person. Even from a distance, a Thank You note or an I am thinking of you note can help boost morale and encourage the hearts weary of distance, moving, and loneliness.
Here is our collection of Military Appreciation cards. Here is the link to send a thank you letter to a veteran. During May, could you pay it forward? Let's show military families that we are thankful for their sacrifice during Military Family Appreciation Month and beyond!