How can we care for the families of military service members? There are so many ways! Here are several ideas from Jeri, whose son served in the military. The suggestions below help the parent who is managing all the details of their everyday lives while their spouse is away.
Laundry duty: Offer to do the laundry. If you have time, offer a “pick-up and delivery” perk.
Grocery shopping: Offer to do the grocery shopping. Slip a surprise in one of the grocery bags like a gallon of ice cream with 3 toppings, or chips and salsa, or a pizza.
Meal Planning: If a group from the family’s church or neighborhood is interested, check out the Take Them a Meal site. This is a great website packed with ideas for scheduling, menus, recipes and other ways to show you care.
Pack school lunches for kids: When one parent is in charge of everything, someone who offers to pack school lunches for a week or more is such a blessing. Check with the mom on what items the children like and dislike. Again, if you can spread out this responsibility among many individuals, it will not be a burden for anyone.
Be a “Handy Man:” Get someone handy to come over every few weeks to do a running “honey do” list of stuff that breaks or needs replacing. What a wonderful gift this would be!
Send children fun care packages with snacks and a small toy or activity or book.
Offer to help carpool once a week or more.
Help them keep a photo journal of everyday activities for the spouse who is away. When he or she returns, they will have a review of all they missed and can get caught up.
For the person who is serving in the military: Send him or her care packages, updates from home (local newspaper, church bulletin), beef jerky, chewing gum, dice or cards, photos of their family at home, pictures of local happenings (buildings going up, new restaurants, road construction, simple things like local parks, ice cream joints etc.), things to bring the feeling of “home” to them – a photo of their house, notes about what’s being done to support their spouse and kids.
Show military families that you care by stepping up and helping out the spouse who is juggling many tasks while their loved one is away serving our country.