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Military Spouse Appreciation Day
By AlphaNews
5/8/2015 7:25:00 AM
Military Spouse Appreciation Day

In addition to being the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII, today is also Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Celebrated the Friday before Mother’s Day, the observance honors and recognizes the sacrifice that families make. The spouses are the “force behind the force”; often called on to endure deployments, moves around the country, and, in the event of the unthinkable, how to carry on after the loss of a loved one.

The men and women who serve in the U.S. Armed Forces give so much of themselves to defend our country. It is important that we in turn support them and their families. Here are just some of the organizations that are doing just that and how you can get involved.

Joining Forces  
Started by First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, Joining Forces aims to raise awareness for issues facing military families. The three big issues they focus on are education, wellness and employment. They work for government officials and business to implement programs that will benefit all members of the military family.

USO Family Programs  
The USO has been lifting the spirits of troops and their families for more than 70 years. When it comes to families the goal is to help them “endure the stresses of multiple deployments; cope with their loved ones’ visible and invisible wounds of wars, and deal with the grief accompanying the loss of a family member.” The USO has partnered with organizations such as Sesame Street to create show s and DVDs to help children of military families deal with a variety of issues. Programs like the United Through Reading and Operation Phone Home help families keep in touch even when they are separated by oceans. Lastly, they offer programs for families who have lost a loved one or are caring for a wounded soldier.

Operation Family Fund
Operation Family Fund was created after the attacks on September 11, 2001. Its mission is to help the families of military or civilian personnel who have been severely disabled as a part of Operation Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. They award grants to help with short or long term living expenses whether it be medical, transportation, counseling, career or housing-based.

National Military Family Association 
The National Military Family Association is the perfect resource because many of the people who run it are military spouses. They offer a variety of services for all members of the family but when it comes to spouses there is support for life events such as marriage, divorce, adoption, special needs, and more when you have a military family. There are educational resources and scholarship programs. There is also support for career changes and licensing when relocating. Lastly they have programs to support families leaving the military or those who have lost a loved one.

Fallen Patriots
The Fallen Patriots organization strives to provide educational counseling and scholarships to the children of military personnel who have been killed in the line of duty.

Military Family Support Center
Located in Salem, VA, the Military Support Center runs programs for the morale, welfare, and informational needs of local military families (of all branches and components). They seek to build a network of support. Some examples of events are deployment gatherings, summer camps for military kids, appreciation days, and informational seminars. In addition they provide assistance with food, transportation and housing. Their Exchange allows a military family to receive food donations in return for donating their time/skills for the center or another family.

How You Can Help
When it comes to showing your support for military spouses and families there are many things you can do.
1) Donate – give money to an organization like the ones above that help our military families

2) Fundraise – organize events to raise additional funds for the cause. It could be something as small as a lemonade stand or as big as carnival.

3) Volunteer – many of the organizations that aid military families need people who can donate their time. They often need help distributing food, tutoring kids, spending time with veterans, etc.

4) Advocate – reach out to politicians to encourage them to support legislation and programs that help military families. Talk to your employer about hiring veterans.

5) Shop – many of the organization sell items with their logos or have partnered with online shopping destinations so that a percentage of the sales goes to their cause.

Tags: Military Spouse Appreciation, military families, military appreciation month, USO, Joining Forces
Categories: Holidays
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