I know there are a lot of you out there who want to help a deployed soldier. While sending the soldiers letters, goody boxes, coffee, etc. are all wonderful ways to help and show you support, and I certainly don't want you to stop, I've thought of another way you can help. You can help those soldiers' families. One of the main concerns for a deployed soldier is his family. So, if we can help reduce some of that strain for him as well as for the family, we can say thank you to the soldier and his family.
a note:While I know that there are women/mothers/wives deployed, I am coming from the viewpoint of the wife, so that is the context I will use. Of course these suggestions can be used for men as well.
For people who live close by you: First, understand that no matter where you live, there is probably a family with a deployed soldier living near you. You may have to do some detective work to find them, but it can be done.
So, for the things you can do:
1.Tell them what a great wife and mother they are.
2. Tell them that you appreciate their sacrifice for their country.
3. When you go to the grocery store, call and ask if they need you to pick anything up for them. Then, let them pay you for their groceries. (One of the reasons people tell you they don't need anything is because people frequently refuse to let them pay for whatever it is they picked up, say milk.)
4. Do their grocery shopping for them.
6. Babysit overnight.
7. Have you son/daughter's youth group organize a Mom's Night Out for the local deployment spouses. Do it for free as a community service project.
8. Take them a full meal. You know, a salad, spaghetti, corn, bread sticks, and banana pudding. Mom can provide water for the drinks.
9. Ask them if there is anything that needs to be done around the house.
10. Mow their lawn.
11. Rake their leaves.
12. Shovel their snow.
13. Call to chat.
14. Have them come over for a cup of tea.
15. Understand that some of them may be in denial that their husbands are in a war zone and not want to talk about the war.
16. Respect the fact that they may not want their children hearing about all the soldiers dying.
17. Give them a hug. When you're far from "home", you may not get a lot of adult human contact when your husband is gone.
18. Do their dishes.
19. Order them pizza.
20. Give them a big stack of paper plates, cups, etc.
21. Invite them to dinner, especially for the holidays.
22. Hang up or take down their Christmas lights.
23. Take their kids gift shopping, be it for a holiday, a birthday, or just because.
24. Take them out for coffee.
For those far away from your loved ones while their spouse is deployed:
1. Call them regularly.
3. Send flowers.
5. If you can, have the kids visit you, alone.
6. Send them gift cards to their favorite places to eat.
7. Set up a grocery delivery service for them.
If anyone else has suggestions, please, post them. Remember, you can't wait for the spouse to ask you do something. She won't. She's strong. She's stubborn. Just call and ask if you can do one of these things, or anything else you can think of.