October 26 marks the National Day of the Deployed, a day to honor the 180,000 U.S. military members deployed around the globe in service of our country. It also acknowledges the sacrifices made by military families while their loved ones are away.
Here are some ways you can honor and support military families who are going through deployment:
1. Reach Out to Families in Your Community
A great way to support the troops during deployment is to help military spouses and families back home. Reach out to a military spouse whose servicemember is deployed and offer to cook their family dinner, or to pick up groceries. You can even simply reach out to see how they are doing — sometimes even the smallest of gestures can make all the difference.
2. Foster a Servicemember’s Pet
Sometimes servicemembers who are getting ready to leave for deployment or training are unable to care for their pet and may look to organizations such as Dogs on Deployment to help connect them with a temporary foster home. If you are able to foster a pet for a servicemember while they are away from home, you can sign up anytime on their website.
3. Participate in Special Campaigns
Soldiers’ Angels has a mission to make sure no servicemember feels alone during their deployment. This includes sending one letter each week and one care package a month until the servicemember returns home. They also have some pretty special campaigns that take place throughout the year:
- Treats for Troops — Donate excess Halloween candy or become a candy collection site.
- Holiday Stockings for Heroes — Stuff holiday stockings with goodies and help spread the holiday spirit to troops and Veterans.
- Holiday Adopt-A-Family — “Adopt” a military/Veteran family for the holidays. Provide gifts for the children and a grocery gift card.
- Valentines for Veterans — Share the love with troops and Veterans with Valentine’s Day cards.
- Warm Feet for Warriors — Collect and donate socks, one of our most requested items!
- Blanket Drive — Donate new or handmade blankets! Great project for all skill levels of crafters.
4. Wear Red for R.E.D. Friday
R.E.D. stands for “Remember Everyone Deployed,” and each Friday, you have the opportunity to show support to the men and women of the U.S. military — all you have to do is wear something red.
5. Volunteer with the USO
If you are passionate about supporting America’s service members in a real, tangible way, you may consider volunteering at the USO. Opportunities include welcoming home deployed servicemembers to providing support for individual servicemembers and their families at USO centers.
Find the closest USO center and sign up today.
6. Send a Care Package or Letter
These non-profits provide a variety of care package and support services:
- AdoptaPlatoon Soldier Support Effort
- Any Soldier Inc.
- Comfort for America’s Uniformed Services
- Eagle’s Watch Foundation
- Hugs Project
- Military Missions in Action
- Operation: Care and Comfort
- Operation Gratitude
- Operation Homefront
- Operation Turbo
- Silver Star Families of America
- Soldiers’ Angels
- The Mission Continues
These nonprofits collect and distribute letters of thanks and support directly to Active Duty, Reserve, and Veteran military:
As you can see, there are many ways for you to make a difference in the lives of military servicemembers, Veterans, and their families dealing with a deployment. Whatever way you choose to show support will speak volumes!